David Vidales was a man on a mission during the seventh round of action at Spa-Francorchamps. After a disrupted Qualifying session saw him stuck in P18 on the grid, the Campos Racing driver overtook cars left, right and centre to bring home a solid points haul in both races.
After finishing seventh in the Sprint Race, Vidales matched his speed in Sunday’s Feature Race to secure seventh once more, which ended up becoming eighth following a post-race penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
Nevertheless, the Spanish rookie was thrilled to have demonstrated what he’s capable of, despite struggling for straight-line speed along the Belgian circuit’s powerful DRS straights.
“I think it was amazing, the car was mega today. We had a very strong pace and we overtook all the cars on track. We made a good start, already the first lap I think I made up five or six positions and then the pace was really strong.
“The straight-line speed was not amazing, actually it was quite bad, but still we managed to make up positions at a track where straight-line speed is really important. That shows the great car that we had, especially in Sector 2 where the corners are, and we were very strong there. Happy to maximise every opportunity that I had on track and get points which was the goal.”
Losing out in the disrupted Qualifying session, Vidales believes that Campos could have had a shot at fighting further up the field inside the top 10 if not for traffic on his quickest attempt. Nevertheless, he recognises that the strong performance this weekend gives his team a solid foundation to build upon throughout the season-ending triple header.
“In Qualifying, we were quite unlucky because the last lap was the only lap we could do because of the track conditions improving and we got caught in traffic, which made us lose a second. Without the traffic, we would have been starting in the top six probably, but those are things that we cannot control. Then we had to just focus on the races and try do our best and I think that’s what we did.
“In both races we overtook 11 drivers and got points in the two races and in the first race, we also had used tyres. I think we maximised all the opportunities that we had and that's very important. Also, for the three weekends in a row, having good pace in the first one helps the team to be motivated and to keep learning and growing for the next weekend."
As Formula 3 heads to Zandvoort for the penultimate round of the season, Vidales is excited at the prospect of going back to a track where he finished on the podium at two years ago in Formula Renault Eurocup. Given the speed Campos showed across the weekend, he’s optimistic about doing the same this weekend, eyeing up a return to the rostrum for the first time since his victory in the Barcelona Sprint Race.
“The pace in the race is there, we just have to have a good Quali. The pace is also there in Qualifying, we just have to not find any Red Flags or something. It’s not an excuse, we have to make a good lap and with the car we have, we can be on the podium.”