“I knew it was going to be challenging. No one in the past has done one year of F4 and then gone into F3 in their second year of single-seaters and been competitive. So, I wasn't naive.”

Arvid Lindblad’s performances in Sakhir certainly weren’t from a point of naivety. He might have become Formula 3’s youngest-ever race winner, but the PREMA Racing driver put in an intelligent and measured drive to win at the first time of asking.

The Red Bull Junior Team member was aggressive when he needed to be, and patient thereafter in order to secure Sprint Race victory. It was a tactical race and reflecting afterwards, one he says was a big step in his early acclimatisation to the F3 Championship.

RACE ANALYSIS: How rookie Lindblad showed experience beyond his years in Sakhir

It was a race that didn’t get started as planned however, as he actually lost position to MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz at Turn 1. It didn’t alter pre-race strategy though, as the Briton explains.

“I got a decent launch at the start but then I got sort of stuck at Turn 1 and lost the position to Tim. Then I was fighting with him for the first lap to try and get back into fourth.

“After that, it was a bit the strategy. We'd agreed before the race to push for the first lap to try and gain track position, but then as soon as it settled down, to really take a step back and really focus on managing the tyre.

"It was just about managing the situation, managing the tyres, staying calm, getting into a rhythm"

“I knew from testing, the deg was going to be high. Last year, they had quite a lot of deg, and we had an even softer compound for this year, so I knew that the first laps were going to be really important to manage well.”

Having cleared Tramnitz, Lindblad found himself in relatively clean air while those around him trailed the car in front closely, hoping to make a pass themselves. Having gone into the Sprint with a strong gameplan though, the PREMA driver remained shrewd, and made his overtakes count when the chances presented themselves.

Lindblad and PREMAs pre-race plan worked to perfection aiding the Briton to race victory on Friday
Lindblad and PREMA's pre-race plan worked to perfection, aiding the Briton to race victory on Friday

One area in particular that was crucial to ensuring that was be able to escape being in DRS range to the car behind, not just having enough tyre to make an overtake. That he says, made the biggest difference in the end result.

“Once I got back in fourth, it was just about managing the situation, managing the tyres, staying calm, getting into a rhythm. Then I felt comfortable and the guys in front were fighting, so without even doing too much I kind of ended up arriving on them because they were losing so much time.

“You want to save in the right way, to be smart on that. It was quite challenging to get my head around but also quite fun”

“That put me in a really good position having used a lot less tyre having done no fighting. Then I just patiently waited and from Lap 10, I had a massive tyre delta to them and was able to use it in the right way to pick them off and break the DRS. That mattered a lot. We were trying to wait until the point where I knew that I could pass and go beyond DRS range because it's so powerful.

“The DRS is a new factor. It's something completely different to what I'm used to, so there was quite a bit of discussion before the race of how to manage. Some of it was also just learned through experience, but we did talk about how best to manage it, where to be smart and where you can save, where you can push because it's also so crucial to be inside DRS if you're behind someone.

READ MORE: What We Learned: The Main Takeaways from the season-opening Sakhir weekend

“You want to save in the right way, but you also can't save. You need to be able to be within the DRS at the detection point. So, you need the tools to be smart on that. And yeah, it was quite challenging to get my head around but also quite fun.”

After experiencing the highs of victory, Saturday’s Feature Race didn’t unfold in quite the same way, though Lindblad says he has been able to analyse why things played out the way they did.

“The Feature wasn't as good. I got quite a poor start, lost a few places, and then had to use quite a bit of tyre pushing in the first four or five laps to make up the positions I'd lost. That was quite different to the Sprint where I was saving.

Ahead of Round 2 Lindblad says that he is eager to put what he learned in Sakhir into practice in Melbourne
Ahead of Round 2, Lindblad says that he is eager to put what he learned in Sakhir into practice in Melbourne

“I didn't have the advantage towards the end and once I was in the DRS train, I was trying to save and be smart with it, but I think we were all degrading at a very constant rate. That was why none of us had enough of a delta at the end to make a move.”

With one round down and nine to go, the Red Bull junior is now looking to put some of those early lessons into action when F3 returns to Australia next weekend for Round 2.

Lindblad says that without having had testing prior to the race weekend commencing, it will be the first true indication of the pecking order and how he has settled into life in F3.

“Everyone knows it's a super difficult Championship, really competitive with so many drivers with good experience. We had nine days with post-season at the end of last year, pre-season this year, which helped me get up to speed because on top of it being a very competitive Championship, I was also coming from F4, which is a big jump.

READ MORE: Fast-starting favourites: Sakhir team-by-team review

“I think I settled in quite well, felt comfortable in Bahrain, and the race was really good. With a decent Qualifying, it could have been slightly better. I made a few mistakes, but it still put me in a good position.

“The pace was super strong, and I managed the tyre situation quite well at the beginning. Then I was able just to pick them off one by one and go forward throughout the race. It was definitely not a bad way to start a new Championship.

“I think for Melbourne, now I've got a taste of Formula 3 and we've got a little bit of an idea of what we can do and how it works, I’m super excited. I think Melbourne will be still very different in the sense that it's more of proper F3. We won’t have any testing before, so it’ll be more challenging.

“In FP, it will be really important to get on it to deliver quickly considering we have a lot less laps of prior preparation. I'm looking forward to it, but I think it will be more difficult than Bahrain. So, I want to try to keep expectations realistic and we'll see what happens, but I think being in the top 12 in Qualifying and trying to score points in both races will be the target.”