I have that issue Phil, I’m 52, I also struggle with Italian, apart from spina which means draught lager 🍺If you're in a turn/sweeper long enough to build power/speed to redline (Watkins Glen is surely as such), your hands might not be at 9-3, but they're at least in that 10-8/left and 2-4/right window. There's no way that's confusing.
In an anecdote about a former pro driver who couldn't handle paddle shifting that I offered, he just couldn't deal with the sequential part. He couldn't think linearly up/down, and it wasn't about hand position. His brain was built to know the gear in the tactile sense from the shifter pattern. The sequential nature of modern shifting just couldn't be done -- like learning a new language at an older age. The brain pliability ain't as good.