Davidson feels back to his best after mid-year struggles

Toyota LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson believes he is back at the top of his game after a hat-trick of race wins following his return to the FIA World Endurance Championship this season.

Davidson feels back to his best after mid-year struggles
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
Podium LMP1: race winners Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota Gazoo Racing
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
Race winners #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
Anthony Davidson, Toyota Gazoo Racing
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima

Along with his teammates in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, Davidson began the season with back-to-back wins at Silverstone and Spa.

But the Briton endured a tough middle part of the season, missing September's Austin race for what the team described as "personal reasons" after a subdued showing in Mexico City.

It marked the second race that Davidson has been forced to skip in two years, as he withdrew from the 2016 Mexico event following a testing crash at Magny-Cours that left him with bruised ribs and shingles.

The 38-year-old nonetheless believes he is now back to the form that took he and Buemi to the 2014 championship crown following on from wins in Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain at the end of the year.

"I certainly feel that by the end of the season I was back to driving the car exactly how I was when I won the championship," Davidson told Motorsport.com.

"I had a bit of a struggle at the end of last year, I feel like I've come back. It's all linked into the reason I missed Austin, but now I'm back and stronger than ever before now."

A 'what could have been' season

Victory over Porsche in the Bahrain season finale meant Davidson, Buemi and Nakajima finished the season with five race wins, establishing a new WEC record.

But a distant eighth-place finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the result of a two-hour spell in the garage to replace a front motor and battery, cost the trio dearly relative to race winners Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, who went on to wrap up the title for Porsche.

Davidson believes that, had Le Mans not been such a disaster, the championship fight would have played out differently, especially as Toyota resumed development on the TS050 Hybrid towards the end of the year.

"We took two wins at the start of the year, which goes to show what a crippling race Le Mans can be if you don't score good points there with the double points system," Davidson said.

"That's really what knocked us this year in terms of the championship. If Le Mans had gone our way, we would have probably gone on to win the drivers' championship – or at least it would have been very tight, and it would definitely have been decided in Bahrain.

"It was a 'what could have been' season. But at least we ended with the fastest car.

"The updates were small, but they were enough to get us back enough by the end of the season. And five wins in a season is something that's never been achieved before in WEC."

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