Watching him fighting with himself, Jules was working his body and brain into a sweat this weekend.
The team sojourned in the humid air of Hungary, where the wind blows only occasionally. The fourth round of the Formula 3 Championship took place.
Last weekend was a weekend of contrasts. On some matters, Jules attained the best results of his Formula 3 career so far. Yet on other sides, he made mistakes that he has never made before. Let me elaborate.
Jules told me why he’s a better racer than a qualifier. That’s because he sometimes doesn’t have the focus that’s required to be able to drive as constant as is needed. His mind goes all over the place, off-track. you need to stay focussed on-track to be able to drive consistently in every section of the track, because that’s how the team can figure out where improvements could possibly be made. He’s not very good at this yet because qualifying requires a rigid mental concentration. It’s super mental. I think his coach needs to fit him with a mental harness.
Jules is better at racing: while racing, the momentum is so strong the focus comes automatically.
Yet this weekend Jules drove his best qualification so far. For the first race, he qualified 14th. The result of that race is the best result he has attained so far as well: he finished 6th. The second qualification wasn’t as good as the first, and even though he was driving well, Jules somehow got a penalty for going outside of the track limits, and sorry doesn’t cut it with the officials. So he did the requested drive-through penalty and lost about 6 places, but managed to make them up – all of them – and finished 18th.
At the beginning of the last race, Jules made a mistake he never made before. Just as the red lights went on Jules suddenly got the jitters about taking off fast (it’s a difficult thing to do). Probably just because of this moment of hesitation, he stalled his engine. Everyone flew past him in a split second. So starting at the end of the grid, hopes weren’t up too high. Yet Jules still managed to drive from 25th to 15th in a race that was less long than normal. (The race was stopped preliminary because it suddenly started to rain.)
After all, Jules seems to learn quite fast. He got his second rookie podium moment. And the team boss speaks very fondly about him. He’s a good apprentice. About studying; Jules will know in a couple of weeks whether he has passed his exams yes or no. Quite exciting!
See you in Spa-Franchorchamps…