Going from 16th on the grid to securing his third top 10 finish of the 2023 campaign in the Barcelona Feature Race, Christian Mansell is satisfied with his improvements across the opening rounds of the season. However, he says there’s still work to be done to capitalise on Campos Racing’s race-winning pace.
After being in the mix for points in the Sprint Race, contact with Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Gabriele Minì whilst fighting over ninth brought a disappointing conclusion to a positive race up until that point. Knowing that the pace was there in the #24 Campos Racing car, Mansell says he was hungry to get back up into the battling once more – seizing his opportunities from the moment the lights went out.
“The biggest moments in the race were Lap 1. It’s always hectic around Barcelona from Turn 1 leading up into Turn 5 is always very, very tight, makes it quite exciting,” he noted.
“I feel like I can bounce back like Fernando Alonso! I have the lion inside of me like he does and looking forward to trying to score some more points. Obviously, the incident was unfortunate, but I’m very much looking forward to trying to bounce back.”
Both he and teammate Josep María Martí gave the Spanish squad something to celebrate in Sunday’s, with Martí’s victory securing them their second double-points finish of the season. Soaking up the special atmosphere, Mansell says he felt very fortunate to have had the backing of scores of local fans cheering him on for the second time, after his own home event in Melbourne.
“I think it was very important to show our pace, especially as I’d say it was my second home race being a Campos driver. It’s always very, very exciting coming here and having the support, even though I’m not Spanish. There’s still the sort of home support that you feel and the privilege that you have.
Whilst satisfied with adding another point to his tally and his rate of growth since the campaign kicked off in Sakhir in March, Mansell isn’t oblivious to the fact that the potential is there for so much more. Just on the other side of the garage, his more experienced teammate Martí has scored three victories and sits second in the Drivers' Championship.
Buoyed by his performances, the Campos driver says he needs to make the most of the strong pace the team have shown. Wanting to hit the ground running from the start of the two upcoming double headers in Spielberg/Silverstone and Budapest/Spa-Francorchamps, Mansell believes a strong start can only aid his chances of progressing further up the field.
“I feel good about the first half of the season. I made a lot of inroads and a lot of progress with the car and myself as a driver. I’m feeling very confident actually. The biggest thing for us to work on is just maximising the car and the potential that we have. Pepe extracts it very well and I just need to extract it as well.
“It’s always very important to have momentum, you can go so much further when you have it. It’s just a confidence booster – a smile is worth three tenths as a lot of drivers would admit.”