PREMA Racing’s Arthur Leclerc faced a difficult task for Saturday’s Sprint Race in Sakhir, after ending Friday’s Qualifying session in 13th position.
However, the Monegasque driver evaded trouble during the 20 laps of running and managed to cross the line in fifth place, taking six Championship points to begin his 2022 Formula 3 season.
Having struggled to extract the pace from his car in Qualifying, Leclerc admits that he always feels more comfortable during the race as he juggles different elements such as wheel-to-wheel combat and tyre management.
“It was quite good, the race was really nice,” he said. “The start was a bit difficult because there were many cars around, it was (about) avoiding a crash.
“Then we could show our pace. I think we did a good job. It was a shame yesterday for the Qualifying, we struggled a bit as a team to the cars in front. I’m ready for the race tomorrow.
“I always feel comfortable in the race, I can feel the tyres a lot more. In Qualifying it’s a bit more difficult, it’s about one lap, you can’t improve your driving.
“But as soon as there’s more laps, I’m more confident than the others to just do whatever I want with the car, put the wheels wherever I want and to manage the tyres as well. So for me it’s a bit easier.”
At the end of the 20 laps in the Sprint Race, Leclerc was just three seconds away from a podium finish, and only marginally missed out on fourth place to Trident’s Zane Maloney.
Ahead of Sunday’s Feature Race, Leclerc says he will try to emulate his comeback through the field as he lines up outside the top 10 once again.
“It’s about trying to just keep coming through the field,” he said. “It will be a bit longer race as well so you have to think more about the tyres as well. Tyres are quite critical here, so just think a bit more about the tyres and come back again.
“Starting from P13, it’s always difficult to focus on the win, but let’s see. I will try to do my maximum, try to do my best and put the car where it belongs."