Having fought their way through an understeer issue that “just wouldn’t go away” in pre-season testing, Pedro Piquet says that Trident are the best they’ve been in his time there.

The Brazilian is now two years into his partnership with the Italian side and can see a lot of differences from his maiden campaign at the wheel, both in himself, and the team. Although, he admits that they have possibly underperformed this season, given their speed.

Faster and more powerful, the Brazilian believes that they should have been fighting for more wins in 2019, were it not for some bad luck and mistakes. “In the points, it is not that bad, but it was supposed to be much better,” he admits.

“I think speed wise, I am much better than last year. Unfortunately, there was a crash from myself in Austria, a crash on the last lap in Silverstone and brake failure in Hungary.

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“But, I am happy to be driving fast and to have the speed, which for me is the most important thing. You cannot be finishing all of the races eighth/seventh, and maybe have a podium in Race 2. If you have the speed and you can qualify in front, I think that is the most important thing.”

The understeer issue that plagued their pre-season testing programme threatened to derail Piquet’s second season at this level of single-seater racing. The Brazilian joined Formula 3 from the now defunct GP3 Series, which folded as part of the formation of F3.

However, such is the trust that Piquet has in his team, he remained patient, even when the season started poorly and he finished 26th and 16th in Round 1. Between the disappointing weekend in Barcelona and the second round in Le Castellet, his team got on top of their struggles and that culminated in two podiums in France.

“At the beginning of the year, we had massive understeer on the car and it wouldn’t go away. We had quite a few tests like that, but then we improved and it is just like a normal racing car now. The first few tests were quite hard though and I think that is why we were always in the middle, like 15th, 18th.

“We had a lot of difficulties in testing because of the new car, but now we have improved it a lot and it is really competitive. It is my second year with Trident and they are very open and friendly, and they’re really fun.”

As well as the performance of the car and his own abilities, Piquet also spoke of the improvements that he has made mentally, with a more focused mind-set. The importance of not over-thinking and not letting superstitions steal away from what is truly important before a session.

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This has been particularly evident in Qualifying, with five top eight finishes from the seven available, an impressively consistent statistic and one that the Brazilian says is vital to race performance. “If you are starting at the front, it is half the job done,” he asserts.

“For me, superstitions are very bad, because if you don't do it, then you are just thinking that you should have done it. My superstition is to be as calm as possible. The calmer you are, the less you keep thinking a lot in your head, and then for me, you don’t perform as well.

“This year, I feel that I am a lot better than last year. In Qualifying, we are always there - top six, top seven, because I am always calm and I don’t make mistakes.

“Looking ahead, we want to maximise what we have. I think that we have a car to drive in the front, like we did in Spa, so it is all about not making mistakes in Qualifying and putting a lap together.”

With just one round remaining, Piquet sits sixth in the standings, just seven points behind fifth place Christian Lundgaard.