Last year we saw how quick we were at the Circuit of the Americas but we didn’t get a result so this year we travelled to Austin with a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right this time.
As it turned out it was one of those weekends where you work your n**s off and you are rewarded with the race win. Sometimes you win races and it can feel almost easy but this one was a massive effort as we were facing such strong competition so to pull off the win felt better than ever.
We were coming off the back of the disappointment of Le Mans so it was important for the whole team to re-establish ourselves.
Despite the fact that the race was very difficult – what with the changing weather conditions and then the red flag – the team called the strategy perfectly throughout and that was vital to our success.
There were quite a few heated discussions on the radio, which is normal when things are changing not just by the lap but by the corner. Even so with all the pressure the right decisions were made and we got our result.
There are quite a few things that can be learnt from this weekend, most of all when to throw a full course yellow or indeed a red flag.
We had storms earlier in the week in Austin so we all knew how quickly the rain came and that when it did there was a lot of it! We also knew how quickly the circuit became treacherous during one of these downpours. I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos but from the cockpit you can’t even see the track layout and in the dark all of that water turns into a big mirror.
When it rained in the second hour of the race it was torrential and the track quickly flooded. What was disappointing was how long it took for the race to be stopped.
As you run down the straight to Turn 12 there is a crest, about two-thirds of the way down. I had realised how bad the conditions were and I was more worried about staying on track than my race position. I thought to myself “don’t go over that at the same speed as the lap before”, even though I could see others maintaining their speed.
Remember there are no warning flags at this point.
As soon as I got over the crest I could see everyone spinning off the track but by that point, if you haven’t backed off before the crest, it’s too late. A full course yellow could have avoided that.
I think this was a mistake. The guys in Race Control can see everything that is going on but we waited a good two minutes before the race was red flagged.
The issue for me is that when drivers or teams make mistakes we’re hit hard, often to the detriment of the sport. The rules are black and white and wholly non-negotiable.
When the rulemakers make a mistake there are no repercussions for them.
I would like to see the sporting aspect respected as much as the rules. What I mean is we should look at the rules from a sporting perspective.
We are supposed to be entertaining people with our racing but I’ve known races where the fans have gone home thinking their man has won, only to find a few hours later he has been disqualified for a minor error. I would also like to see the drivers consulted more on issues of safety.
I’m going off on a tangent now so I’ll get down off my soapbox.
The thing to remember is that Aston Martin won in Texas! The thing we shouldn’t forget though is that we worked incredibly hard for that win.
We beat one of the Porsches but I’m not sure we could have beaten the other one had they not had problems. Fuji will be a tougher event for us. I would say it will be a mountain to climb but that would just be cheesy!