Securing his best-ever Qualifying result in fourth around a Silverstone circuit that he adores, Christian Mansell isn’t letting the weight of expectation weigh him down this weekend. Narrowly outqualified by just 0.035s to his more experienced Campos Racing teammate Josep María Martí in third, the Australian-born racer is prepared to relish the feeling of fighting at the front rather than stressing over any particular goals.
Having added to his points tally with P7 in the Spielberg Feature Race last time out, Mansell was pleased to see his perseverance pay off, seeing any results as a bonus on top of an already positive trip to the British circuit.
“Very, very pleased with that. I mean it doesn't get much better than that. I’ve come to a track that I really, really enjoy and have my best ever Qualifying result right behind Pepe by really, really not a lot of margin. So, I'm really, really pleased with that and couldn't really ask for anything more. In the Feature Race, if I’m fourth, I’m fourth. Anything north of that, I’m over the moon.”
Putting a lap together around the circuit’s 18 different turns was easier said than done, according to Mansell. Admitting the challenge that the Silverstone circuit holds isn’t one to match up to easily, it seems the littlest of details have the greatest impact alongside a healthy dose of enjoyment around one of motorsport’s legendary circuits.
“Silverstone requires a lot of attention to detail. There are a lot of corners and areas you can mess up, so putting it all together is really important. You just have to send it a little bit to be honest. You’ve
got to have a bit of fun; I was having fun and that’s why I was fast.”
From a wider perspective, the two Campos Racing driver inside the top four puts the team in a strong position to bring home a solid haul of points in both races.
Noting that he’s in the ‘danger zone’ starting from P9 for the Sprint Race, he contrasted his circumstances with his fifth-row companion Martí and sees Saturday’s race as a chance to continue developing his understanding of the car and further his progression in the Championship.
“I am in a risky position if you want to look at it from an excitement point of view, but to be honest there’s no real pressure to perform risk. If I don’t perform or fall or gain, it doesn’t really matter. But for Pepe, he’s got to really be on it, not make any mistakes and he’s in the firing line. For me, I’m just out there trying to do my best, keep climbing as I get buckets of experience.”
Friday’s performance demonstrates the progress that Mansell has made since the beginnings of the campaign and he's now got his eyes set on more. Steadily racking up points, he now has 11 to his name after he secured his best result yet last weekend, climbing up to seventh in the Feature Race at the Red Bull Ring.
Crediting the upturn in performance to a combination of gaining experience, the Spanish team’s driver to extract the most out of their package and the return to more familiar venues, he believes that whilst it’s been a difficult start, the effort has been worthwhile.
“I think it’s a conjunction of both. Campos have worked so unbelievably hard to put me, Pepe and Hugh in the position that we’re able to be in. It sounds funny saying this but I’ve definitely matured over the course of the year. On track, it’s been a very steep learning curve to see how you can take it on board and approach things. My approach from Bahrain to now could not be more different, but in a good way so I’m very happy with that.”