MP Motorsport rookie Alex Dunne felt finishing in the top five was possible in both the Sakhir Sprint and Feature Races. However, the Irish driver was keen to look at the positives having fought his way through the field to score points on Saturday.

Lining up in 14th, Dunne revealed that a slow start led to him slipping down the order. However, steady progress throughout the 22-lap affair enabled him to make it into the points.

Dunne then pulled off what he called his favourite overtake of the weekend on the Campos Racing car belonging to Oliver Goethe on the final lap. This vaulted him up to ninth, giving him the first two points of his Formula 3 career.

READ MORE: Meguetounif disappointed to miss out on podium but happy with Sakhir weekend

Looking back on his weekend, Dunne said: “In the end, in the grand scheme of things, P9 probably isn't in a bad result. I think the pace was there in both races to be in the top five to be honest.

“In race one I think I was up to ninth or 10th on Lap 1 and then I made a mistake, and I lost four or five places which as this level is not really something that can happen, but the pace was still there.

“Today, I have to look into why it happened, but I had a really bad start. I think after Turn 1 I was down to 18th, so if you look at it is a whole, to come back to P9, it's not too bad, but I think the pace was definitely there for a lot more.”

Dunne made a late move on Goethe to take P9 in the Feature Race
Dunne made a late move on Goethe to take P9 in the Feature Race

Reflecting on a weekend that also included a 12th place finish in the Sprint Race, Dunne said: “To be completely honest, with how the test went I was really surprised with how poor the quali was.

“Even compared to Tim Tramnitz, throughout the test our pace was at least pretty much the same the whole way through, to have that gap I was a bit surprised. So, we have to look into what went wrong there.

“But I think in the race, the pace was back to where it should be, it was just a couple of little things that didn't really go our way. In race one, it was a mistake and in race two it was a bad start. Overall, it wasn't a terrible weekend, but I think we could have done more.”

FEATURE RACE: Browning holds off Mansell for maiden F3 victory

For plenty of the rookies managing the tyres had proven to be a key focus heading into their debut campaigns. This was emphasised even more in Bahrain, a track known for having an abrasive surface.

However, Dunne says that was not his biggest issue this weekend, instead citing his Qualifying performance as the area of most concern.

Explaining what he found hardest to adapt to this weekend, the MP driver said: “To be honest I think a lot of people would say the degradation in the race was hardest, but I think for this particular weekend, quali was harder than the race.

Dunne believes finishing in the top five was possible in both Sakhir races
Dunne believes finishing in the top five was possible in both Sakhir races

“For whatever reason we struggled in quali compared to the test. In the test, it was really strong. Here we struggled a little bit. In the races, managing the deg, I felt really good.

“The pace was strong and the last five laps I felt good. I would say the hardest part at least my weekend so far was probably quali.”

Next for Dunne and the rest of the 29 drivers is Melbourne later this month, and it is a challenge the MP driver is very excited to tackle.

Round 1 Post-Feature Race: Thoughts from the top three

“I am really looking forward to it to be honest,” admitted Dunne. “The track looks really nice; I really like high speed tracks so hopefully it should suit me a little bit better. Also, it’s on mediums as well, and when we tested the mediums here, I much prefer them to the hards.

“So, hopefully that will be a little bit in our favour for the race, but you have to wait and see of course things can change. I think realistically as long as we have the qualifying that we are capable of doing I think the rest of the weekend should be pretty good.”