Racing for just the second time since his return from injury, Juan Manuel Correa branded his “cool-headed” approach during a manic Race 2 as key to coming away with his first points in Formula 3.
The American watched on as first David Schumacher and Enzo Fittipaldi, and then Matteo Nannini and Dennis Hauger collided while fighting for the race lead. Having steered clear of the chaos, Correa was able to benefit from the incidents and sneak into P10 to score his first points in F3.
It was a welcome bonus on a weekend where he says he was targeting experience over points.
“It is a great feeling,” elated Correa. “My pace and my tyre management definitely improved on the back of Race 1, and physically I was able to pace myself a little bit better and get to the end.
“I was not expecting (to score points) in this race, starting from 15th, but I kept a cool head and stayed out of trouble because there were a few incidents, but I’ve scored my first points now, so the team and I are happy.
“I’ve made very good progress throughout the weekend and I am even happier about that than the points. At the moment, I just want the experience. I want to finish races and complete the kilometres, and here and there, I will collect a point like I did today.”
Three separate Safety Car incidents could have disrupted the flow of the field, but with the grid battling 42-degree track heat and degradation, Correa says it was a welcome break.
“This morning was really my first experience with deg in this car,” he revealed. “We were saving my legs a bit in pre-season testing and didn’t do the race runs, so it was a big learning curve in the first race.
“I have no reference, but I can tell you it was tough. We were sliding a lot with the rears towards the end of the race. The heat physically tires you as well; you can feel the dehydration. I think the safety cars helped everyone to catch their breath a bit and cool the tyres down.
“There is a lot of info to digest from the first two races, but the biggest thing was just to be back in a race and in the rhythm. From now on, I think there will be an even bigger upwards curve.”