Such are the high standards that Championship leader Robert Shwartzman has set himself this season, the Russian came away disappointed from Race 2 at Silverstone, having only achieved 2nd from a 4th place start.
The PREMA man lamented his decision to take it easy on his tyres during the first few laps, having struggled with degradation off the line. Looking back on the race, the 18-year-old felt he could have challenged for the win, had his dive through the field began earlier.
Instead, he was forced to come from fifth – he dropped a place at the start – and settle behind the silver and black Hitech of eventual winner Leonardo Pulcini, who had built up too great a lead.
“It was my mistake,” he admitted. “We were taking it too easy at the beginning. If we had been a bit faster with overtaking then we could have challenged for the win for sure. Generally, I am happy because we improved from a bad qualy.
“We recovered a bit and we got some solid points, so I am happy that the team and I made some good improvements and made some good steps. A big thank you to the team, but we will push for much more at the Hungaroring.
“Silverstone is not a track where I am very strong, so I am happy that I’ve improved myself here, which is something for the future.”
It was during the beginning of the race where things got tricky for Shwartzman. He was quick off the line, but not in a position to overtake and eventually lost a place to Pulcini, and then got stuck behind Christian Lundgaard for much of the race.
Explaining his start, he said: “It was a decent race, the start was good generally and I had a good lunge, but I was in the wrong position for the first three corners and I lost a position there. Then, I was stuck behind Lundgaard because at the beginning I was struggling a bit with my rear tyres, so I had to calm myself down a bit.
“After I did a few cool down laps and took it easier, I felt that the car was getting really good, so I started pushing and I was putting some pressure on Lundgaard. He made a mistake in Becketts and I used DRS to get past.”
In Great Britain, the saying goes that ‘things come in threes,’ and for Shwartzman at Silverstone this proved the case. Having gotten passed Lundgaard, two further moves followed in quick succession, as he made a late dash to the front.
“After that, I caught Pedro Piquet and straight away my target was to get in front of him,” he continued. “I made the move as soon as possible and got past him. On the next lap, I got past Liam Lawson after an interesting fight - it was nice, we had a close fight.
“That was the range where the car began to feel really good and I started to feel confident - straight away there was a difference. When I got to second, my target was to build the gap as quickly as possible and that is what we did. I was trying to push for the fastest lap after that, which we got as well.”
His P2 finishing, and the points secured for fastest lap, put him back above teammate Jehan Daruvala in the Championship fight, having briefly dropped to second after Race 1. The 18-year-old says that he is relishing the contest, ahead of the next round at the Hungaroring in August: “It’s tight and interesting - it is going quite well now.
“I knew that the Championship was going to be tight and my target now is to improve myself and do a better job in the races so that I can build a margin of points in the Championship. We are going to push for that.
“We did some good testing days in the winter at the Hungaroring and we were strong, so we just need to have a fine tuning of what we had before and improve ourselves.”