Victor Martins has expressed mixed feelings over finishing fifth in the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship, claiming bragging rights as the highest placed rookie in the field.

Martins ended his campaign with an eighth place result at the final race of the season in the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday, having finished on the podium at the opening race of the weekend on Friday.

The Frenchman ended up 16 points behind Clément Novalak, who occupies third place, leaving him slightly disappointed despite enduring a strong rookie campaign.

“I’m feeling happy, but also not happy,” Martins said. “I finished P5 but before the weekend I knew that the best I could do, by being realistic, the best was P3 or the worst was P5.

“Now I finished P5, it was the worst I could’ve done. I’m happy because I’m the first rookie, but still a bit disappointed. I knew that if I was doing good enough this season, I could’ve ended up P3, but in the end it was a really good season, I learned a lot.

Martins finished as the highest rookie in the standings
Martins finished as the highest rookie in the standings

“A lot of experience taken, so I’m looking forward to next year and what will happen to me, where I will be, and what I’ll do. I think I’m looking to put all the experience I’ve got into next year.”

Martins enjoyed a solid end to the season, taking points in each of the final eight races of the campaign.

Reflecting on the last race of the year in Russia on Sunday morning, Martins admits he was impatient at times, but says he nevertheless had fun to close out the season.

“I did a good start, considering the position I was in,” Martins said. “It was a bit wet on the right so I got Sargeant from the start, and then it was a bit of a mess in Turn 2. I tried to manage not to be in an incident, and then I got two positions again, I was P10 or something.

Martins scored in all eight of the final races
Martins scored in all eight of the final races

“I was a bit impatient at some points, I tried to go on (Jak) Crawford quite early in the race but when we were fighting I lost two positions. It was a bit of a mess, what happened early in the race. I was just going for the overtake and was just losing two or three places.

“I was back to P12 at some point and then when everything was a bit more calm, I knew I had the pace so I just overtook car after car. In the end I think the pace was really, really strong and we got P8.

“I’m a bit disappointed because at some point I could’ve done a bit better, I could’ve taken a better decision to not be in the fight or be in the wrong places. But it’s like this. I had nothing to really lose, I wanted to have fun. At some points I was just pushing a bit too hard.”