Jolyon Palmer's GP2 Diary - Germany
Our GP2 columnist reflects on a frustrating weekend in Germany - but at least he got to drive a lap on the Nordschleife!
By Joylon Palmer. Last Updated: 17/09/13 1:31pm
Just one week after Silverstone we were racing again at the Nurburgring. After a long but fairly pleasant seven hour drive over we arrived at Nurburg on Wednesday evening.
The towns around Nurburgring are very sparse - the villages of Aremberg or neighbouring Antweiler were like ghost towns as there were some buildings around but no sign of any life. The hotel we were booked into was nice though and pretty much was just catering for the Carlin GP2 and GP3 teams.
The Nurburgring track is a really good track to drive. There is a lot of undulation around and I like it as well because there aren't many massive tarmac run off areas - there is more old school gravel traps or just grass before barriers which means you really will be punished for your mistakes a lot more than on most modern F1 circuits.
As we were over at the Nurburgring, I thought I had to have a go round the old Nordshleife. I'd been round as a passenger a few years ago but this was my first time driving it. The track is absolutely mental! There are so many flat out blind crests and you certainly don't want to come off because it won't be a small crash if you do! I really enjoyed the lap. I think it's great that any member of the public can just turn up, pay €26 and within a couple of minutes be flying round one of the world's most insane tracks.
As far as my weekend goes, my on track action was going rather nicely until around a third of the way through our Feature Race on Saturday. It seems we had chosen the right strategy and I was running comfortably in the top order having started on prime tyres.
Then with one massive error our weekend was completely ruined. As I was approaching the final chicane I was sure I heard my engineer say 'box, box, box' on the radio. This is the term we use to call into the pits as normally it cannot be confused with anything else and is easy to understand. Anyway I proved those theories wrong as I rounded the final corner, into the pits and realised my team were not ready at all for me. A very slow stop later and I was back out on track in last place and on another set of prime tyres.
After failing to call in on the radio for a few laps I had no choice but to pit again, ensuring we were well and truly out of the race on Saturday but meaning at least we could spare the now slightly used primes for Sunday as we had no chance of points now.
Even on Sunday though the race was a struggle. I had to start from 24th on the grid after our mix up the day before and could feel my worn tyres lacked the edge compared to most people starting on brand new ones.
After a good start I failed to make up too much ground until near the end as I was having to look after the tyres all race to ensure I could get to the finish without hitting the cliff. In the end I finished 11th which was a good result considering the tyres we started on. So all in all for me it was a weekend that had a lot of potential but was completely destroyed in one moment of misunderstanding.
There is nothing more frustrating than that because it is no error I've done driving or the team has done on the pit wall - it's just a mix up over the radio which has ended up costing us extremely badly over the weekend.
Kevin Ceccon reminded the rest of us that it could always be worse though. After qualifying 23rd he had contact within about 5 seconds of the start and rolled over. He must have barely got out of first gear before he was upside down and slamming into Adrian Quaife-Hobbs' stalled car causing a lot of damage. To make matters worse he didn't even get the chance to race at all on Sunday - I've had some bad weekends in my time but I'm not sure they can compete with that!
Finally as a tennis fan I was very pleased to hear over the radio from Calais that Andy Murray won Wimbledon for the first time. I think he is a great example to British athletes that if you put in the hard work you can get results. I really enjoyed watching the tournament this year as it was the most unpredictable I can remember.
We have a few weeks off now before Hungary, in that time I will make sure I'm fully prepared to give everything and get my first win of the season at Budapest.
Follow Jolyon on Twitter: @JolyonPalmer