Trident rookie Sami Meguetounif was happy with his performance in the Sakhir Feature Race after taking the chequered flag in fourth place. However, he admits there was a little disappointment in the result given that he missed out on a maiden podium.

After a strong Qualifying, Meguetounif lined up fourth on the grid and took advantage of the slow starting PREMA Racing cars of Dino Beganovic and Gabriele Minì to get up to second place.

Unfortunately for him, he was overtaken by ART Grand Prix driver Christian Mansell and had his hopes of a top three finish spoiled late on in the race when MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz dived down his inside at Turn 1.

FEATURE RACE: Browning holds off Mansell for maiden F3 victory

Meguetounif fought hard to retake the position but was unable to do so, leaving him to cross the line in a well-deserved fourth place.

“Of course we wanted the podium,” said Meguetounif. “We also wanted the win which starting from P4 we knew we had the chance to do. But I can be satisfied with my P4 on my first ever F3 weekend, so I'm happy.

“The main thing is that we learned a lot in yesterday's Sprint Race. I made some mistakes then that I didn't make in the Feature. But fighting in that kind of race without a Safety Car was really tough for me because you are not allowed to make any mistakes. If you do you get out of DRS range.

“Also fighting in the top three and four you are with the really good guys that don't make mistakes. So, I will also take other lessons from the Feature Race that are different from yesterday’s race, but we can be satisfied.

Meguetounif was in second early on chasing Luke Browning
Meguetounif was in second early on chasing Luke Browning

“We scored good points. Yesterday we scored one point, today 12. So, I look forward to Melbourne and we will learn from that race.”

Asked what the hardest part of the Feature race was for him, Meguetounif replied: “You have to manage the tyres. Every single corner you do, you think about your tyres, but you also think about being fast in a clean way to keep within the DRS because in my position I was in the risky zone.

“If I lose the DRS my race is over, my chances of a podium are over and also if I push more to stay there, the rest of my race will be difficult. I struggled a bit at the end of the race with my tyres and I made a small mistake that cost me the podium but it's like that.

“I think it was a tough race also without a Safety Car because a Safety Car would have helped me cool down the tyres but it’s like this. Tough one to start but we will learn and be better.”

Round 1 Post-Feature Race: Thoughts from the top three

It proved to be a solid weekend for Meguetounif and Trident, one that sees them head to the airport at the top of the Teams’ Championship.

With Santiago Ramos right behind him across the line in fifth and Leonardo Fornaroli in seventh after his third-place finish in the Sprint Race, it brought to an end a strong opening round for the Italian team.

Meguetounif believes all three drivers were prepared for round one after completing plenty of long runs during pre-season testing. He is now setting his targets on further improvement upon returning to the factory.

Meguetounif finished fourth for Trident on his debut weekend in Formula 3
Meguetounif finished fourth for Trident on his debut weekend in Formula 3

“In testing we did a lot of race sims to prepare for this weekend,” said Meguetounif. “I think all three did well, Santiago had contact yesterday, but we were in the top-10.

“We had a good quali, a really strong quali, we managed not to do mistakes on our side, and we ended up P1 in the Teams’ Championship.

“Me and Santiago will learn a lot also from Leo as he is more experience and I think we are really working well together and with the engineer everything is going super well. So, I can't to debrief at the factory with a cold head, analyse everything and redo the same but better.”

READ MORE: Bedrin handed time penalty following Sakhir Feature Race

Upon returning to the factory, Meguetounif and Trident will turn their attentions to Round two of the 2024 season in Melbourne, and the Frenchman can’t wait to get racing at Albert Park.

“First, I expect a really fun weekend overall,” said Meguetounif. It’s a race I've always liked since I was a kid watching TV and I have only heard good stuff about that place, so I am really looking forward to it.

“But also, the track looks really nice. I don't know the track of course but I will do a lot of sim to prepare myself. The team won last year with Gabriel Bortoleto there so we know how to do well there, and we will prepare like we did for Bahrain.”