Zane Maloney is targeting a curtain call victory to end the 2022 Formula 3 season on a high note. The Trident driver admits that while he will need things to go his way in the Feature Race to clinch the title, ending his rookie season on his terms is the target for Sunday.
Able to fight with his closest rivals in the standings and those around him on track, Saturday’s Sprint has fuelled his confidence. Maloney says he will be taking no prisoners but is hoping his P2 grid spot for the Feature will mean he has just one overtake to make.
“Tomorrow, I have nothing to lose, and we had the pace today. We were able to overtake quite easily so I hope I won’t have so much overtaking to do tomorrow, hopefully just once. The plan is to just finish off the season on a high note and see where we end up.
“I'm expecting more of a crazy race even more than today. Hopefully it is, I’d love for it to be a great battle. We had the pace today so I'm in a position where there's nothing really to lose. It puts us in the best position possible to see what happens around us with no pressure, we just need to go for the win. Hopefully some stuff happens around us, we do need a bit of luck. I just need to do my job and try to get that win.”
Tied on 109 points with teammate Roman Stanek in the Drivers’ Championship, Maloney is 18 points adrift of Victor Martins, who leads the way still for ART Grand Prix.
A difficult middle phase of the season is long in the past, with the Trident rookie starring since the summer break. Maloney has won both Feature Races since the resumption of the season at Spa-Francorchamps, but admits he is a little frustrated that his best form has come at the end of the year.
“If we don't win the title and I look back at the end of the season, there were a lot of missed opportunities, a lot from my side and a few things that happened outside of my control. I wouldn't be able to say I’m satisfied. I wouldn't be. I made many mistakes at the start of the season, but I will be satisfied with how the end of the season has gone and, whatever happens next year, I'll be ready to fight from the beginning and not just from midway.”
In the Sprint Race, Maloney earned a P4 finish to keep his Championship hopes intact heading into the final race of the year. The Bajan driver kept himself out of trouble, whereas other contenders including Martins, Isack Hadjar and Arthur Leclerc each hit trouble at some point.
Though his result keeps him in the title picture, Maloney said that he expects bigger battles, greater pace and a better finishing position on Sunday, no matter what happens in the Drivers’ Championship fight. If Maloney can get to the top step of the podium, the Sprint has shown that nothing can be taken for granted by any of the remaining contenders.
“It was quite difficult just because you're trying to stay out of trouble, and you don't really know what the other drivers are thinking during the race. Obviously, we're still in the championship, so risk versus reward was quite a big thing in that race.
“It was a very difficult, we knew that from the beginning, and a lot of chaos happened around throughout the grid. We stayed out of trouble and we had the pace as well. We were able to finish P4, but I think the potential was P3 or P2, so a little bit disappointed, but now we were still in the fight and ready to go for tomorrow.”