The day started with Qualifying 1 which was interesting to say the least! Getting a tow or slipstream here is all part of setting a competitive lap time, as with the long straights and minimal downforce in set up, it is not possible to do so without the benefit of a draft.
Much like Spa, this lead to a lot of games being played with no one wanting to be in the front so driving very slowly around the lap, and then when setting off because of the cold tyres, drivers would abort laps and pull out. On the first set of tyres many kept pulling out from in front of me, and the team called me through the pits to try to find a better position, however it continued to fall badly and I was left circulating pretty much on my own.
For the second set of tyres it was even more exagerated with the whole field driving in a long train extremely slowly whilst the clock ran down. I kept myself in a good position, but coming in to the final corner we had only around 30 secs on the clock and I like many others were yet to set a lap. Crossing the line just in time meant I had one shot at it, and I was really pleased to be able to deliver my best lap time of the weekend so far to qualify in P5, and less than 2 tenths off pole.
In the race I got a great start, holding my 5th position and defending into the challenging first corner well. From there I raced well into the fifth lap still holding 5th and in touch with the lead 4. Then a driver got the draft behind me and whilst I covered the inside line into the Parabolica last corner, he challenged me around the outside and held on well exceeding the track limits to do so. I held him all the way down the pit straight and kept the inside into turn one to keep my position. He out-braked himself and losing control over the curbs in the chicane speared in to the side of my car knocking me off the track and in the process straightened himself up to continue on without penalty to finish in that position.
The incident forced me back to 11th, but I was still in touch with the lead train of drivers and I recovered to set the fastest 1st sector of the race. Unfortunately whilst in the process of challenging to move up a position, another driver missed their braking point behind me and hit me hard from behind spinning me around.
From there I pushed as hard as I could and managed to recovered to finish just in the points in 10th place.
A frustrating day, but plenty of positives in my racing and the team have given me a car that we know has the pace. Looking forward to some better fortune tomorrow!