As part of a regular column in the aftermath of each round, one of motorsport’s future stars will take you beyond the paddock and delve into their race weekend. One good point, one bad point and everything in between.
Callum Ilott is next up this season. The Briton takes you behind the scenes of Round 2, and explains why he was pleased with his weekend. The UNI-Virtuosi driver also discusses his antics over team radio before the start of the Feature Race and looks ahead to Round 3 in Budapest this coming weekend.
One good point – Qualifying
Qualifying. I think that overall, as a team, we were really, really strong, with P2 and P3 for Zhou and myself. From my side, I messed up a little bit on both of my good laps, which would have just cost me pole, so I do think there was a bit more pace in there. But, it was definitely strong from us and gave us great starting positions for the first race.
One bad point – Dropping down at the end of the Feature Race
I would say the end of race one, considering how good we were in the first half of the race, before the pit stop. Afterwards, we just started dropping, as we got the set up slightly wrong for when the track was drying up. That was a little frustrating given the pace we had in the rest of the race, and the efforts to stay clean in the difficult conditions. That was a bit annoying, but fifth wasn’t too bad.
Keeping spirits up – A long delay
Obviously, there was a long, long wait to get the race started on Saturday, not only during the red flag, but before that as well due to the delay to Formula 1 Qualifying. The guys were soaking wet, and I think that one of our engineer’s laptops actually broke because of the rain. So, they were soaking wet, it wasn’t warm at all and they were all cold, and it was borderline whether the race was even going to start for a while.
As much as it may have sounded a little negative on the radio, it was all jokey, and I was just trying to keep people interested and motivated. I didn’t necessarily think that I was going to be on TV, so I wasn’t doing it for the TV or anything. I was just trying to make the team enjoy it and keep them entertained whilst we were waiting, because at that point, we didn’t know if we were going to race or not and you don’t want all of their efforts to go to waste, because they put a lot of work in.
Next time out – Budapest
Hopefully, we can continue our good run of qualys, and improve one or two more positions for that, because qualifying is a bit more important in Budapest. I think that we have learned a lot from having the different tyre compounds so far, and we can take that into Budapest and the following races, which will help.
I think we will also have a bit more pace in the races, hopefully, and I am looking forward to it. I think that we have definitely had some good positions so far, but I don’t think we have really maximised any of the races, apart from maybe the Feature Race on the first weekend, because those were brilliant points. I still think we missed a bit with the car though, but I believe we have now realised where we can improve, and we should definitely be a bit better for the next few.
Those tyres have had quite a big effect on how everything is approached, so it is about getting on top of that. For Qualy, it has been easier than we anticipated, especially from a driving point of view. For the races, I think it has helped the rookies quite a lot. I am expecting some good results from our side, some good points, and I will be looking to keep it consistent.
See you soon, Callum