Jack Doohan wasn’t just fighting against the other 29 drivers in Qualifying at Silverstone, but also his own head, as the HWA RACELAB driver fired to his highest finish in Formula 3 so far.
Doohan will start from seventh in Race 1 tomorrow, after a storming qualifying performance, but admitted to a few nerves in the session, when bad luck attempted to rear its head.
The Australian racer and his team haven’t enjoyed the greatest of starts to the season, but look a whole lot more competitive in Round 5, and Doohan says he is pleased their hard work is beginning to pay off.
“Right from the start of the session, I was a lot more comfortable and had a lot more confidence in the car,” he elated. “That meant that we could start on a good first run, at a good baseline, and go into the second run not playing catchup, which that helped a lot.
“I was on quite a quick lap - two tenths quicker - when we went back out, but unfortunately the red flag came out and it didn’t count. I just tried to keep my cool, because I didn’t want to get in my own head too much about the bad luck. But then, my car wouldn’t start, and I got a little worried.
“I managed to keep my cool though. I learned from the past few weekends and got a half reasonable lap in there. I was wary of track limits and going a little bit over, as we only had that one lap, but it was still a really good improvement from the previous weekends. Now I know I have the confidence and the trust in the car, so I can push a little bit more.”
Doohan has yet to score a point this season, but his new-found confidence in the car has the potential to inspire a change of fortunes.
He will be joined in the top seven by his teammate Jake Hughes, who qualified third, and Doohan knows that getting some strong digits on the board in Race 1 tomorrow could spark a run of form for the team, that has the potential to turn their season around.
“I felt there was still more potential,” he explained. “I feel like we could have gotten up to fourth, and could have pushed a little harder, given I am now more confident in the car, but like I said, it’s a good improvement and we will keep going from here.
“I think our race pace has always been promising. Even when I wasn’t quite happy with where the car was, but hopefully we have developed that further as well, so that I can maintain my position, or push on forward.
“We are in the points and in a good position to have at least two good results. I will try and keep my head cool and bring them home.”