MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins put on two incredible performances on home soil at Le Castellet last weekend, taking a double podium thanks to valiant charges through the field.
The Frenchman, who now sits second in the Drivers’ Championship, takes control of this week’s guest column to pen his thoughts on the overtake-laden outings, as well as explaining what he learned and telling an anecdote from after Race 2.
ONE GOOD POINT - A DOUBLE PODIUM AND THE FRENCH FANS
The weekend as a whole was a good point. The results that we took and the confirmation of our performance from Barcelona. We were straight on the pace in Qualifying and in the races.
When you have tested at a track, then you get used to it and that was the case in Barcelona. Whereas at Paul Ricard, we had not tested there, so it was great to be amongst the fastest, to finish P3 in Qualifying and to take two podiums.
It was an awesome result for us and the team and it confirmed that the car is working. The car has performed on two tracks now and that shows that the work that we did in winter and pre-season has paid off. We now need it to keep paying off in the future.
Also, racing at home was mega. The support from the French fans was amazing and it gave me so much strength and positivity. Going into the weekend, the people around me were wondering how I would manage this, and I think I managed it really well. I had a lot of people around me, supporting me and giving me strength and I think that I managed it perfectly. I didn’t feel any pressure, I was calm and I was able to enjoy it all – as well as my birthday on the Wednesday before!
ONE BAD POINT – I SHOULD HAVE PUSHED EARLIER
In Free Practice, I maybe should have been on the pace earlier and pushed myself a bit more to find the limits, which would have prepared me for Qualifying. That’s something that I can improve on for the next round so that I can go into Qualifying and be up there right away.
Experiencing the wet conditions in Race 3 was a very good experience. I had never raced in the wet before in Formula 3 and it was good to see how the tyres worked on a wet and on a drying track.
I pushed at the very beginning of the race to take positions and maybe I pushed a bit too much on the tyres because they started to overheat. When the track was drying, I was already on the edge, and then at the end, I had no tyres anymore.
If I had continued to push then it would have gotten worse and worse, so I decided to let Caio Collet pass, so that he could try and catch the drivers in front of me, knowing that I could maybe have followed him. Overall, it was a good experience for the future.
WHAT I LEARNED – HOW TO BE OPPORTUNISTIC
I learned how to be opportunistic. To see the opportunities and go for them straight away, without waiting one or two laps, and without overheating my tyres. In all three of the races, I managed a really good first lap, which put me into attack mode, while not taking risks. I was really focused, looking forward, seeing opportunities, and going for them. Having the pace in the car helped a lot too.
As I mentioned in the previous section, I learned a lot from driving in the wet and that will help me in the future. If we have another wet race, then I have learned a lot that I can take into it.
For example, I made a lot of mistakes in Barcelona, but I learned from them and corrected them in Paul Ricard and could see this paying off. So, in the next wet race, if there is one, there will be a big improvement.
FANS MAY HAVE MISSED – A SEASON’S WORTH OF OVERTAKING
I made up a lot of places and overtook a lot of drivers in the races and I remember going back to the team at MP and joking with the mechanics and the engineers that I had made more overtakes in one weekend of Formula 3 than I made in the entire season of Formula Renault last year.
Last year, it was mainly me and Caio Collet fighting in one and two in the races, plus it was also harder to overtake if you were starting further back, so I was not used to overtaking that much in one race. But it was good fun.
NEXT TIME OUT - SPIELBERG
I am really excited for the next round of the season because it is really close, there are less than two weeks to wait and that means that I can stay in this positive mood. I want to go into Austria with the same mindset that I had in Paul Ricard. I want to be calm and enjoy the races, analysing where I can improve and do better.
We showed great pace at the Red Bull Ring in testing and were always in the top five, so I can go into Round 3 with real confidence because of that. I really like the track, there are a lot of high-speed corners and long straights. The track has three DRS zones and I think that it could be as interesting as Paul Ricard was.
If I am in the same mindset as I was in Paul Ricard, in attack mode, then I think that we can take a lot of places. I am really excited and we are feeling really good as a team.