The current Drivers’ Championship leader had somewhat of an anonymous session, though had been on a promising lap when the Red Flags came after Piotr Wisnicki’s spin mid-session.
The stoppage and lack of running during the session, a consequence of the in-season test earlier this year around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, leaves plenty of question marks ahead of Qualifying.
“It was not the easiest of sessions. We didn't do many push laps during the session. We were waiting for around 25 to 30 minutes to go out of the pitlane. I had in total I think three pushes and I did a mistake in my first and on the second one, I got the Red Flag.
“My best lap needed to be on the second run. That, in my opinion, is not the best moment to do the lap. Overall, we need to work on the car now and try to understand a bit more the track evolution for Qualifying because for sure after Formula 1 running and Formula 2, the track is going to be better.”
Though the Formula 3 grid logged plenty of mileage in Barcelona prior to Round 5 of the campaign, there are still unknowns heading into Qualifying.
With how much traffic played a factor in the revamped final sector, along with how the tyres may or may not hold up for multiple pole attempts, Bortoleto expects more unknowns to flare up in Qualifying.
“We have done quite a lot of laps in the test before, I think we didn't plan to do many laps in Practice today. Also because the track is very dirty. The first car going out on the track at the beginning of the session isn’t going to have a good time for sure. So that's the reason why we waited. We have done something like 1500 laps during testing.
“I prefer the track like that, to be honest. I like high-speed corners but for sure it's not the easiest for the tyres as well in these conditions. The race will be tough, I think in terms of tyre management, the traffic didn't seem to help during Practice. Everyone was making the gaps in these last two corners so it was quite difficult to place yourself in a good position there. Let's see how it goes in Qualifying.”
For the Brazilian himself, losing his potentially fastest lap to a Red Flag stoppage means he doesn’t know where he stands compared to his rivals. Closest Championship competitor Gabriele Minì was another who was hampered by traffic and flags, though session-topping Taylor Barnard also caught the eye according to Bortoleto.
What the Trident driver does expect though is to only have a single chance at capturing pole. There were very few improvements in the closing stages of Practice as the hard Pirelli compound fell away from it’s peak performance window. Qualifying then could be all about being in the right place at the right time rather than who looked quick in Practice.
“For sure we have only one push lap to do on each tyre we put on. I cannot predict it to be honest, we didn't do so many laps, we don't know who is really quick or who is slow here. What we know is that in the test I was doing quite well but also the Hitechs and the ARTs. Also Taylor Barnard was impressive today so on the face of it, we never know. Let’s hope for the best for us.”