Exclusive: Dunmow racer gives a behind-the-scenes insight into the world of aspiring Formula 1 drivers at Silverstone
PUBLISHED: 17:15 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:29 18 April 2013
Thomas Suer / ts-photo.de
DUNMOW'S Alex Lynn provided flashes of his championship potential by picking up a second, third and sixth place finish at one of his favourite tracks of the season last weekend.
The 19-year-old also collected his first pole position of the year at the legendary Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire and ended the second round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship fourth in the overall standings.
Reporter SAM TONKIN caught up with Lynn after Saturday’s action in an attempt to catch an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of young drivers with aspirations of making it into Formula One...
HAVING watched Alex produce two stellar drives in Saturday’s races – including a magnificent overtaking masterclass in the second event – most would expect him to be delighted with his day’s work.
But I knew from talking to him in the past he would be lamenting a perceived failure to pick up maximum points.
Witnessing him scythe his way through the field to finish sixth after a first-lap incident dropped him down to 23rd place in race two was a sight to behold, while in the weekend’s opening duel he did everything but pass pole-sitter and eventual race winner, Harry Tinknell.
Approaching Alex in the Prema Powerteam unit after Saturday’s races, I congratulate him on his storming drive in the second event.
Within seconds of thanking me in modest fashion, the conversation quickly turns to his frustration at what might have been...just as I’d predicted.
“The pace in the car was unreal,” he says. “It’s a bit annoying because it wasn’t quite right for qualifying and we ended up out of position for the first two races. Then we made some changes and the car felt great.
“I genuinely believe this weekend we have the fastest car but I haven’t been able to get the points to reflect that.
“It seems like we’ve taken a step forward from the opening round in Monza but that’s a strange circuit because it’s quite easy for people who are not the quickest to be further up the order.”
After a strong start to the weekend I’m keen to find out which is Alex’s favourite circuit and where he feels he goes best at.
“Probably here – Silverstone is a great place for me. I’ve always had good results here and it’s nice to race in my home country,” he explains, before adding that the results haven’t necessarily reflected that this weekend.
Despite me suggesting he’s being a bit hard on himself after finishing second in the opener, producing a great recovery drive to sixth in race two and collecting his first pole position, Alex is still focused on one thing.
“I guess, but the results could have been better. There is only one aim and one outcome for me – it is always about winning each race because if you concentrate on that it makes it easier to win the championship.”
I ask him what the rivalry is like in the F3 paddock and whether all the drivers get on well with one another. “There is a respect but you’re never going to be best mates,” he says.
“We are all pretty laid-back guys so there are no real rivalries but we all want to beat each other. I’ve been racing against some of them since I was 10-years-old, so it’s quite funny when you think about it.
“I like to spend time with my friends when I’m not racing so I don’t tend to see any drivers away from the track.”
Alex has told me before how the travelling associated with an arduous European calendar has its ups and downs but he is quick to point out he always has plenty of support.
“I have my physio who comes with me to every race so I always have somebody to talk to and keep me out of trouble!
“It’s great to have a friendly face around and it makes it easier when you’ve had a bad day to have someone there to help you relax and put things into perspective,” he explains.
This season marks the first time Alex has raced for another team besides Fortec Motorsport since taking up single seater racing, having joined Prema in an effort to take the next step in his career.
“It was a difficult decision to make but I’m really impressed with my new team. They are a great bunch of guys and I’m so glad I joined them – it was the right call at the right time,” he tells me.
With Saturday’s two races out of the way, I’m interested to hear what Alex has planned before returning to the circuit the following day, and whether he has any pre-race preparations.
“I’ve got a few meetings with the team to discuss our strategy for tomorrow and to see how we can improve on today’s races. I’ll probably head back to the hotel about eight o’clock but the team will stay on quite late.
“In terms of preparation, I just try to stay calm. I do get nervous but how much depends on where you’re starting. If you’re near the front it’s more nerve-wracking because all eyes are on you.”
And what about away from the circuit during race weekends? “I like to play a game called paddle tennis, which is quite big in Spain. That’s normally a good way to try and relax!”
Lynn is back in action at the next round of the F3 European Championship in Hockenheim, Germany, on the weekend of May 4-5.