We were just lacking pace this weekend: I did get pole for the reversed-grid race on Sunday, and a win could have been on in wet conditions, but then I got hit at the first corner… Still, I finished both races in the points and that’s what you need for a championship challenge – I’m still fourth and obviously we are all pushing really, really hard.
We did not have brilliant speed in practice and that carried on into qualifying and I was miles down the order on my first run. We changed a lot of things on the car before I went out on my second set of tyres and to be honest it didn’t feel much better, but I went one second quicker! Clearly we need to understand why that is happening. You always look at your team mates as they’re both quick guys and I was ahead of them but we all want to be higher than ninth for sure.
In the first race it rained but only at a couple of corners. I got into a battle with ART’s Nirei Fukuzumi for what became seventh place. A couple of times at Turn 2 I had a problem where if you hit the rev limiter for more than three or four tenths of a second the engine goes into safety mode, and the only way to clear that is to change gear. So every time I passed Fukuzumi he got me back. I did do one really good move on him, but they didn’t catch it on TV, so that was a bit annoying!
‘I started on pole for Sunday’s reversed grid race but it was unbelievably wet – we spent the first third of the race behind the safety car and even then the spray was substantial.’
In those conditions, I had to have a bit of a guess at Turn 1 and went in a bit late. I was waiting for Matt Parry, in second, to go past me on the exit but he ended up hitting me, which put me into a spin. Because there were two more safety cars after that I had no chance to improve on sixth place, which is where I finished.
Now it’s just a few days until we set off to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix weekend – my home race, my favourite track and it’s nice going to it as top British driver in the standings. Before then, we have plenty of work to do to understand the pace from Austria and make sure that we go to Silverstone with as fast a car as possible.