He’s arguably been the star of the season over a single lap, so we thought we’d ask Jack Doohan what goes into the perfect lap.
Taking into account the car set-up, the visualisation and the personal preparations that go into Qualifying, the Virtuosi Racing driver walks us through how he approaches an all-important Quali lap.
“I usually aim for something that is compliant in high speed and low speed, something that is able to be driven well in all sections of the circuit. If you can find a way to drive around issues then for sure you can prioritise either the high speed or the low speed, depending on then. Then you would prioritise that and try and make the most of the rest of the circuit.
“The mental approach for a lap is important. You’re giving it the beans and trying to maximise every little thing whereas in a race, it's a lot longer, you're not pushing 100% all the time, or rarely you're ever pushing 100% because of the tyre deg and you're in dirty air. It's a long race and things can change a lot. So, the approach is different, everyone has a different zone and everyone gets there differently. So, for me, I need to be as calm as possible, just to relax in order to not try and put too much emphasis on it. I generally just let the car do its thing in a way. I don't really try and push too much.
“Sometimes from FP to Quali, you don’t really feel too much difference, but the lap time can be a few seconds quicker. I think it's key not overdriving. A perfect lap is going to be different for everyone else because it depends on how they like the car and how they how they like to drive. For me, the car needs to be moving. You're extracting the most out of the tyre and out of yourself. Clean, on the limit, rear moving and three purple sectors, obviously.
“In terms of my approach, what works is just being chilled out, listening to music but nothing too ‘pump up’. I make sure I do my warm-up early-ish and then have time to sit down and really get within myself and make sure I'm relaxed and not tense, not stressed, nothing else really going on except the job at hand. You're not really putting too much emphasis or stress on the run in to Qualifying because everyone obviously wants pole but you really think about the processes on how to get there. So that's the main thing for me. I just need to be calm.
“We obviously get two runs in and one lap to be able to put it on the limit and really make it happen like in Bahrain and Barcelona. And to me, I really enjoyed those sessions because there's everything on the line, can’t make a mistake, but you also have to be driving as quickly as possible as opposed to on the limit and it's very, very easy to go over that. I enjoy the feeling and the thrill of that and the I like those sorts of sessions. We've done well every time it's been like that.”