On the back of a season as fiercely intense as 2016, trying to sum things up is one of the last, big challenges. With Felix jetting across the Atlantic for his first taste of American racing, debuting in the DTM, dipping his toes into the waters of GT competition and bursting onto the electric scene in Formula E, picking out the cream of the crop from a year lived literally flat out is far from easy.
Yet in this December special, that’s exactly what we’ve set out to do. Portioned out over the next couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, we’ll present the definitive top five moments of 2016 – each personally selected and ranked by Felix, and described in his very own words.
First stop down memory lane: a certain Asian love affair from just a few weeks ago…
The Macau Grand Prix
Category: Formula 3
I put Macau on my top five list because, like everyone knows, I’ve been in love with that race since my first start in 2010 – but also because it was such a special and strange weekend in every sense.
I arrived straight from the Marrakesh Formula E round, feeling a bit ill and tired. We had several media activities planned with Theodore Racing and there was a lot of focus on my comeback to Macau as the defending winner.
The first day felt relatively good, but I could tell there was something wrong and wherever we went, I thought it was quite cold. I asked our driver coach Nuno when we were chilling in the jacuzzi at the hotel what temperature it was, and he said it was close to 30 degrees C and 90 % humidity. That’s when I realised I was probably not that well.
Shortly after that I also picked up food poisoning, forcing me to cancel many of the activities we had planned, including the track walk. I knew it wasn’t ideal, but with the experience I had from previous years in Macau I was hoping it wouldn’t affect us too badly.
The first practice session felt strange. I was struggling with my concentration and didn’t think I was driving too well – but I proved myself wrong in going P1 by almost half a second, so at least I knew that I could deliver despite being ill.
The extreme amount of attention that surrounded me that weekend was something I’ve never ever experienced before. It was massively intense, on the edge of being detrimental. You might think it’s just an F3 race somewhere in Asia and not such a big thing, but it really is huge.
It was a constant haze of noise, pollution, interviews, autograph signing and selfie-taking and to be honest, I couldn’t have been happier when the weekend was over. I spent one week in my bed when I got back home, and just left my phone turned off.
Macau is a blend of different memories for me, but in the end, we had a fantastic race on Sunday after a tough week struggling a bit with the car. Even if we didn’t reach the target of winning it was so nice to be back with my friends at Prema – it’s a family to me, and we’ve stayed in contact every day since my last race in 2015. Bringing the year to an end together with them, looking out from the podium at the best track in the world, surely is a memory that has to make my top five list.
More about the Macau GP
Later this week: #4