Alex Peroni’s return to racing following a horror crash in Monza last September could hardly have gone better, with the Australian taking his first ever F3 podium, finishing third. But the Campos racer insists he isn’t finished there, and wants a race win to add to his trophy collection.

The back injuries which he suffered in the crash at Italy ended his 2019 season early, but Peroni made a full recovery and signed a fresh deal with Campos to return for 2020.

On his first racing experience since returning, he said: “To be back in the car felt so good, it has been a few months since the Bahrain tests and almost ten months since I last raced in Monza, so to be back racing was so cool.

“I missed the feeling so much, being close to other people, having battles and pushing to the limit, so to be back was awesome.”

Qualifying P8 for Race 1, Peroni got off to a flyer when the lights went out, launching all the way to fourth within a single lap. The Aussie would follow this up with a move on Lirim Zendeli for third just a few laps later.

Peroni didn’t finish higher than eighth in his debut season of F3, so was pleased to see his hard work finally result in a podium in Spielberg.

“I guess that you always aim to be on the podium for sure, especially after we had a good test in Bahrain. Obviously, testing is testing though, so you can't read too much into it, and you never know what everyone is doing.

“We were looking to have a good result in the first race, but starting from P8, it was always going to be hard to get to the podium, even though we knew we had really great pace.

“It felt amazing to get onto the podium, even though it was a bit of a strange podium with the masks and the distancing, but it doesn’t matter. The result and getting the trophy is what is important. To get there from eighth was just awesome and I was super happy for the whole team.”

With Round 2 less than a week away, Peroni says he’ll be working hard with Campos to rectify a few minor issues which hampered them in Qualifying, as well as analysing his own performances.

“Being on the podium was great, but we want to win,” he asserted. “We have to improve a bit for that. We made some small mistakes in Qualifying, which wasn’t ideal, so that is definitely an area where we need to improve, and we know that.

“I feel that we can rectify those problems this week and I am feeling good. I already can't wait to be driving again, I am super keen to get going.”