Dan Ticktum’s biggest challenge in his rookie season of Formula 2 has been getting to grips with the Pirelli rubber - whether that be getting the tyres up to temperature, or just keeping them going for the duration of the race. In Silverstone, he firmly put these concerns behind him with a tyre-management inspired first win in the Sprint Race.
The win tasted all the sweeter given that it was at his home circuit in Great Britain, which he labelled as “the best track in the world.”
“I haven't won a race for a long time,” said Ticktum. “I think it's Macau 2018, and I don't want to check! To cross the line first, especially at home, was very special. I'll remember this one.”
On various occasions this season, Ticktum has dropped down the pack thanks to heavily degraded rubber, costing him wins, podiums, and points finishes. Last time the Briton started on reverse pole, he lost the lead in the opening lap, as he struggled to warm up his boots.
Neither were an issue this time around. The DAMS driver was dominant off the line and pulled away in the opening laps. He then protected his tyres and left enough in them to fight off a late charge from Christian Lundgaard for first, who pitted during a safety car period with two laps to go to put on faster, fresher, medium tyres.
He said: “I think the first five laps this season, in all stints, we've struggled in getting the tyres up to temperature and being quick. I seem to have figured out, me, myself, and the team, how to get more temp, and managed to stay ahead.
“Overall, I think the management was really good. The safety car obviously threw a bit of a curve ball which I wasn't particularly happy about at the time. We have to look at whether I should have boxed to be honest, because the delta I had in the pit lane from the VSC was actually quite big.
“The last three laps when the safety car came in, I was absolutely doing it because I knew he was going to be very close and he was. One more corner and he would have passed me.”
The win lifts Ticktum up to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, and while it isn’t exactly where the DAMS racer would like to be, he says he’s pretty satisfied given the issues he’s suffered so far this season, and his lack of experience in F2.
“I think judging from previous years and what we've seen at DAMS at least, if I score 20 points on average per weekend, you're going to pretty much win,” he said. “I think we just haven't got the pace at the moment in quali, so to be where I am (is good).
“I think there's obviously bits I can work on still because there's a lot to learn in this category. I think I've done a pretty good job to be honest, bringing the car up to the reverse grid positions and stuff like that, to get the most points.”