Sebastien Buemi: Rebellion practice pace difficult to understand after race deficit
Sebastien Buemi says that the difference between Rebellion's practice and race pace is difficult to understand after Toyota Gazoo Racing took a dominant one-two finish in last weekend's 4 Hours of Silverstone.
Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley took the #8 TS050 Hybrid to second place overall in the 2019/20 season opener, behind the #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, but a lap clear of the quickest Rebellion in third place.
Speaking to Motorsport Week after the race, the double Le Mans winner said he found the difference between practice and the race to be strange.
"I don’t understand how it’s possible that they were so close in practice," Buemi said. "We had similar laptimes in practice and they slowed down a lot."
"So either they do practice with a lot less fuel, you know, which is not very representative, or they downtuned the engine for safety reasons, I don’t know. But they’ve been quite a lot slower in the race than they were in testing, so it’s a bit difficult to understand. I’m sure they’ll have an answer."
Buemi also admitted that he felt the race was his to win, considering his race pace.
"I felt like I had a more pace than car #7, to be honest, at the beginning. Not really the first stint because I was behind and it’s difficult to follow closely, but in the second stint I was able to pull a little gap.
It’s good for Brendon, he came in, no mistakes, he had it tough with the wet, so it feels like a good pace to go into the next round of the championship."
The #8 crew's race was comprised when Hartley's windscreen wiper failed, with the ensuing repairs ending up costing them the lead of the race. The reigning champion said he found it frustrating to have a minor failure have such consequences.
"Yeah, because in the end, without that I think we would have won. So I was thinking ‘could you drive without the wiper?’ But then maybe you make a mistake and you crash, and you score zero points. So at the end I’m happy with what we have, and let’s wait and see for the next race in Fuji."