• Sam Bird's ESPNF1 column

Playing the percentages

Sam Bird June 7, 2012
Sam Bird had to contend with awful weather conditions at the Nurburgring © Renault
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It was a difficult weekend for my World Series by Renault team I.S.R. at the Nurburgring. We didn't actually have the speed capable of winning, however, we were still able to score some reasonable points (with eighth and fourth placed finishes in the two races).

The mixed weather conditions kind of helped me out a bit in race two, as it became less about the car setup. I got on with it quite well and took the lead twice, but one of our pit stops took an eternity as my left rear wheel nut got stuck and a couple of people that started further down the field gambled on a fairly risky strategy and the weather changes played into their hands. Fair play to them.

It was a bad weekend in terms of not winning and not getting on the podium, but in the wider context of the championship I think it was a very strong weekend because we were still able to get a reasonable points haul at a track where we struggled. We came through adversity and that's really very important. To draw a parallel with football, good teams are still able to grind out wins when they're not playing well and we were able to still score some reasonable points when we didn't have the car underneath us to really compete.

There are also positives to take forward from a weekend like the Nurburgring, because every time that we don't get something correct - and equally every time we do get something correct - we're learning from it. The learning curve is still very steep and every time we put something new on the car it's a new experience for us and that helps us make progress.

We also have to look at the type of circuit we're racing on. At the moment we seem to be struggling on high downforce tracks compared to medium downforce tracks. We think the next circuit in Russia at the Moscow Raceway will be medium downforce, but we'll have to wait and see as it is a brand new track. I've seen the lap on the internet and it looks very interesting, but because nobody has been there before it will be a bit of a leveller between the drivers. So I'll have to work hard with the team to find the best possible setup and that's going to be the key. The track is going to be very green to begin with as we will be the first people to ever run there.

Sam Bird still leads the title chase but is tied on points with Robin Frijns © Renault

Moscow will be the midway point in our calendar and although it's nice to be leading the championship at this stage, I'm not thinking about it all that much. I'm really enjoying my driving and I feel like I'm in the best physical and mental condition that I've ever been in. It's a competitive field so you can expect some twists and turns at the top of the leader board. As long as I'm leading at the end of race two at Barcelona at the end of the year that's all that matters!

In the meantime, I've got an extremely busy weekend coming up at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. I'll be resuming my duties with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, which means a lot of garage tours, Q&As and promotional stuff. Although Mercedes is German, Silverstone is one of our home grands prix as we're based in Brackley just down the A43. We want to do well there and I think it should be an interesting weekend. The weather is likely to play a big part in it, but I just hope we can put on a good show for all the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS fans at the circuit.