Matteo Nannini has had a difficult introduction to life in Formula 3, but looks to have taken a positive step forward in Barcelona, nabbing his first point of the season in Race 1, and he says that the team’s improved Qualifying performance was crucial to this.

Starting from 11th, the Jenzer Motorsport driver was able to stretch his legs and show what he was made of, taking one place for tenth and his first point since making the step to F3.

“We worked really hard to improve our pace in Qualifying,” he said following the race. “For me, it’s the most important thing, as a bad Qualifying can compromise your entire weekend. We were strong in Qualifying with P11, and then at the start, I managed to gain a position. I tried another move, but it didn’t come off and I am happy with P10.

“I have improved a lot and the team have improved a lot. We worked hard together and did a good job. It was a big difference from starting at the back. You have to concentrate every lap and not make any mistakes, because the guys in front are very fast.

“All of the drivers in the field are fast, but as soon as you are on top, you must always be a bit quicker. Fortunately, there were two safety cars, because it meant that we could relax a bit. It was a tough one.”

The Italian’s finish felt all the sweeter, given that it hands him reverse grid pole for Race 2 on Sunday, but he knows he will have to work hard to retain the position, given the strength of those lining up behind him.

Tyre wear will make this even trickier as well, but Nannini says he will use the lessons learned from today in his attempts to win for the first time.

“I’ll have more pressure starting from first,” he explained. “I think from the car, I would expect it to be better, because I struggled a bit to stay in the slip stream of the other guys, especially in the fast corners.

“I need to have a good start and then manage the tyres, because degradation is very high, and it is important to have good tyres at the end of the race.”