• Troy Dalton Blog F1 2017 Career Season #1 / Race #8 - Azerbaijan

    F1 2017 Career / #1 Driver for Sauber

    Pre-Race
    Car is running well, but I am really worried about the gearbox. It seems they self destruct after only four races and this will be the fourth race with the 2nd gearbox. From an R&D perspective, I'm still trying to concentrate on improving durability, but it can be frustrating to be so under powered at every venue.

    Practice
    This track is amazingly quick and fun to drive, but difficult to master. This was the first practice session that I was unable to get a perfect score for my qualifying objective, but that is because I didn't have a qualifying set of tires for the final practice session. However, I found something in practice and I think it's going to payoff in qualifying. I have a good feeling going into the qualifying session.

    Qualifying
    Goals, 18th grid spot, beat (Romain Grosjean).
    As I anticipated, I was able to get out of Q1 with little effort, posting the 10th best time with a 1:47.023. Q2 was a repeat performance and I finished the session with a 1:46.292, which put me in seventh overall for the session. Q3 was only slightly better and my 1:46.241 once again put me seventh on the starting grid.

    Note: A poor or average performance in the practice qualifying objective will have a direct impact on the team's qualifying expectations. Likewise, your final qualifying position will impact the team's race expectations.

    Q3/P7 (1:46.241 US/Tires)
    Pole: Lewis Hamilton - 1:44.906

    Race
    Goals, finish 14th or higher, beat teammate.
    Weather Forecast: Overcast, no threat of rain, but the tarmac will be slippy in the early stages of the race.
    Race Strategy: One-stop strategy. Start on super soft's, then switch to super soft's at lap ten.

    Race Results

    Podium: P1 Lewis Hamilton / P2 Sebastian Vettel / P3 Valtteri Bottas
    My Position: 9th

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    Summary

    I decided to overfill the car with fuel, so that I could run it "rich" during the first stint. This strategy actually worked out well, but I didn't get the greatest start and then Verstappen did his best job of trying to take me out in turn one. I did manage to keep the car pointed in the right direction though and by the end of the lap I was once again in my original 7th place starting position.

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    Perez eventually found his way by around lap eight and on lap ten I pitted for tires. The stop went off without a hitch, but after switching to soft compound tires, I was wishing I'd opted for just one more notch of front wing. I lost another position on the very next lap, as Grosjean passed me in the pits.

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    I was right on his tail though and I came tantalizingly close to making a pass, but then the gearbox starting acting up. It was terribly frustrating to watch my rival gradually pull away and there was nothing I could do about it. The funny thing about the gearbox, is that the first indication of trouble was when I seemed to lose 3rd gear. Then it starting skipping gears and by the second lap around the track it was randomly skipping gears at every up/down shift. Then...it just went back to normal like nothing happened.

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    Honestly, I should have been thrilled with my performance, but I really felt like I had the pace to beat Grosjean and I was ultimately disappointed with the result. Still, ninth in the Sauber at a track like Azerbaijan isn't bad.
    This article was originally published in blog: Season #1 / Race #8 - Azerbaijan started by Troy Dalton