Karel Abraham, 24, of Czechoslovakia, had surgery on his left shoulder in October. He qualified for Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin in the sixth row, position No. 17. After a rough first lap, he fell to 22nd. By the end of the race, Abraham had charged back and ended up 14th. After the race, Abraham spoke with the Herald’s Allan Mandell.
Were you pleased with where you ended up?
Well, to me, I didn’t feel the race was good because I wanted to finish a lot better. I did know, even before we came here, that this would be one of the harder tracks for me because of my shoulder. I’m really working hard on my shoulder but it’s still not perfect and, here in Austin, there are a lot of hard breaks, and left turns afterwards. I knew this would be a really difficult place for me and it was.
During the practices, earlier in the week, and during qualifying, I was only able to go four or five laps before my shoulder was feeling destroyed. Today, with the pain, I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish this race. But I did my best. I really tried hard.
Your front wheel looks like it got damaged.
Yes, we had a big problem during the race with the front wheel. It’s destroyed on the right-hand side. We had some drop on that tire in only the third or fourth lap of the race. I was almost crashing out into the right corners. So I think every lap we might have been losing one second. So we’re talking about that with the crew now, here in the garage, on why that happened.
Well, starting in 17th and then ending in 14th — after being in 22nd — seems like a good showing. But as a competitor, you wanted to finish better than that. True?
Absolutely, I do want to finish better than that. In the end, I did finish 14th and I do get two points for that overall — and that’s very important, so I’m happy for that. But I do want to improve. I really must practice my starts because my start today was really, really bad.
But at least you finished strong.
Yes, I was doing my best. I was just hoping to see that checkered flag because every lap was getting harder and harder. To have shoulder surgery for a person who is not a rider is difficult enough. But to do what we do, racing, while recovering from shoulder surgery is tough. They say this surgery takes about a full year to fully recover from.
We’ll see you here in Austin next year?
For sure. For sure. I will be back.