Whilst the opening phase of his rookie Formula 3 season hasn’t matched his initial hopes, Nikita Bedrin says there are encouraging signs that things are moving in the right direction after heading the field in both sessions of Day 1 of testing at Imola.
Demonstrating his one-lap pace by setting a 1:30.368 in the afternoon, the Jenzer Motorsport driver was over three tenths faster than second-place Gabriel Bortoleto. Enjoying the challenge that the Italian circuit poses, he says that their speed has been consistently strong throughout the opening day’s running.
“Today’s gone pretty well. When we started in the morning we were already, now in the last new tyre run I think I did a really good lap. Also, the race runs were looking really good, so I’m feeling confident, especially with the mediums on this track.
“This is my favourite track; I’ve liked it for many years. We’re looking really confident and hoping to keep this pace for the race weekend.”
One of 16 rookies on the 2023 grid, there have been a great deal of areas for Bedrin to overcome at beginning of the year – with limited Practice time proving to be one of the biggest obstacles. Whilst Round 1 at Sakhir was preceded by three days of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, the 17-year-old had only 45 minutes to get to grips with Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit last time out.
Acknowledging the task that poses, Bedrin is determined to put the difficult two rounds behind him and focus on continuing that momentum to hunt down his maiden Championship points.
“It was really difficult to manage, especially in Australia where the track was completely new. For the rookies it was quite hard, but already there I was on for quite a good lap. I think in 45 minutes, I’m getting to know the track quite well. It’s difficult, but with hard work it becomes good.”
“They were quite bad, not what I wanted at all. I was also struggling with my pace in the previous tests, but now it seems to be good. So, I really hope I can keep it going for the other track as well because this is not an easy track to be quick.”
Wednesday’s running will be the final six hours of track time the drivers and teams get before the Imola-Monaco-Barcelona triple header gets underway next month. Steadily finding his groove in the #26 car, Bedrin’s intent on fully utilising the last opportunity to further his understanding.
“I’m adapting quite well to the F3 car. Every time I was driving before was not so good, but now on this track I’m actually feeling the car well. I could throw it in the corners as I wanted, and I trusted it. So, I now feel like I’m getting much better with the feeling of the car.”
“My main focus will be to keep working and still do a good job. The speed is already looking good, so we just need to make little improvements from there. Also, to learn as much as possible about the car because still the driving is not perfect, it could be better.”