Frederik Vesti was in a defiant mood on the back of his worst round of the season so far, vowing to “fight back” after dropping from second to fourth in the Championship battle.
A hydraulic leak triggered gearbox issues in the opening race of the weekend and forced the ART Grand Prix driver to retire from the race, while also putting him at the back of the grid and robbing him of the opportunity to score in the second.
Sixth place in the final race was hardly a consolation as the Dane departed Round 4 with just six points added to his tally, while Championship leader Dennis Hauger had gained 37.
Just nine points separate Vesti from Jack Doohan in second, but Hauger now holds a 63 points advantage over the Mercedes junior, although Vesti insisted that “nothing is lost yet.”
“It’s fuel on the fire,” said Vesti. “Nothing is lost yet and there are still going to be lots of opportunities. We need to regroup as a team and get more out of our potential and start to consistently score points. I am sure that once we do that, we can start to gain some confidence and some places and come back strongly in the championship fight.
“The issue (in Race 1) was a hydraulic leak, and I was stuck in third gear, so I had to retire the car. That was the worst thing possible because it meant that we couldn’t score points at all on Saturday, which would have been really important.
“In Race 2, I pushed the car a lot and did 12 overtakes, finishing P16. I think considering the circumstances, it was the best ending possible - I had a big smile after the race. It was the most horrible day that you can imagine for a driver who is fighting for the championship, but at least I got to have some fun overtaking and that was a pleasure.”
Despite the disappointment of Saturday, Vesti had to reset and attempt to recover some ground in the final race of the weekend on Sunday.
“It is not easy,” said Vesti. “Your head is thinking a lot about the future and about what you could have done differently, but when you’re in the car, strapped down in your seatbelt, there are no thoughts, it is all about racing.
“It is all about sending it and doing the best job possible. The (reset) kind of just happens by itself once you’re in the car and in race mode.”
A sudden downpour of rain as the cars lined up on the grid didn’t help matters and made the challenge a whole lot more difficult for Vesti.
“The unexpected shower just before the start put us off slightly,” he continued. "But it was the same for everyone. It was quite annoying because I was looking forward to taking a gamble at the start, but due to the rolling start, it was impossible to do much.
“We were stuck behind my teammate, Alex Smolyar, and there was nothing that we could do. I would have preferred a standing start so that I could have had the chance to overtake then.
“The change for the lead (Dennis Hauger passed polesitter Arthur Leclerc), was the only real overtake in front of me. Everyone else in front of me finished where they started. It was difficult to overtake and that compromised our race. The weekend has been quite frustrating in terms of points, but we will come back.”