“That just taught me there wasn’t really a window where you could have a stable and easy car through Turn Eight but not have the graining at the end. So for my final Q2 lap I went halfway house with the pressures and accepted it was going to be difficult through Turn Eight, knowing I was just going to have to keep my foot in. I had nothing to lose. Just getting through to Q2 was already a result.
“I came so close to going off. It bottomed out, ran wide, just about touched the exit kerb. I could feel it going light, like it does just before you lose it, but I just kept my foot in. Then somehow the car just came back onto the rubbered-in line and I hadn’t lost any momentum at all and it just gripped at the final apex. From there, it was all gain.
“I braked as late as I dared for Turn 12, which can be tricky when you have a tailwind. It’s easy to lock up and lose the lap. But I attacked it because I had nothing to lose. I looked at the wheel as I turned in and it was just beginning to lock – but it didn’t quite, so it was perfect…
“That’s what a perfect lap is. It’s when you nearly crash at every corner, where you nearly lock up but don’t, where the car twitches nervously on exit but doesn’t let go. That lap was damn well as close as it can get.”
With today’s very different downforce levels but similar tyre traits, it’s going to be fascinating to see what the key challenges of such a quality of lap will be this weekend.