Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Lance shares his tips for securing the perfect getaway
A race start can be a make or break moment. If your reactions are too slow, you might find yourself at the rear of the field before Turn 1 is even in sight. Too fast, however, and you risk a hefty penalty for a jump-start.
Essentially, timing is everything.
As one of Formula 1’s star starters this season, Lance is well-placed to talk to about the all-important moment when those five iconic red flights flash out as instinct takes over – knowing not only how to secure the ideal getaway, but where to place the car on the circuit to protect and attack.
“There’s no real secret behind it,” Lance explains. “You just go with your instincts, that’s how I’ve planned my starts.
“Every start is different so you can’t really plan it. A good reaction time is important when the lights go out, a good clutch drop with minimal wheelspin and good drive out is always important. It’s about positioning the car in the right place at the right time and picking up some positions.”
While it appears that it’s a story of ‘lights out and away we go’, preparations for the race start begin beforehand during the formation laps, where drivers must warm their tyres to secure the optimum getaway for the impending opening lap.
“During the formation laps we have a procedure. Burnouts before the start and so on and then it’s really just about containing the adrenaline before the start and remaining calm and focused in order to execute it.”
Before accelerating into Turn 1 at breakneck speed, drivers are left to their own devices – sat on the grid with the rest of the field, simply waiting for the inevitable charge:
“There’s the occasional thought that pops into the mind but generally I’m really focused and everything else is irrelevant at that moment in time,” adds Lance.
“It’s just you, the cars around you, the racetrack and the lights – it’s quite a unique experience, really. There’s no one talking to you so it’s really when I feel like racing is a big pleasure.
“It’s amazing that every couple of weeks we get to experience that adrenaline rush before the start and then go on to race. It’s a hell of a lot of fun!”