Thoughts from Martins, Leclerc and Saucy
FIA Formula 2: Victor Martins your first win of the 2022 season and it comes here at the Bahrain International Circuit. How good does this result feel?
Victor Martins: It felt just awesome, especially after the weekend I had. I was struggling a bit in practice, maybe I wasn’t, you know, kind of ready for the rivalry with the others, so I was just down the field and I had to come back in Qualifying. I did the job to be P5 and then with the penalty, P4. But I think it was a good start to the season, I just needed to release a bit of the pressure and then after that, it was good. Yesterday in the race, it was just a misunderstanding inside the team. But it makes us a lot stronger, I think the relationship is still there. We will still work really well all together. And that’s the most important. And today I just wanted to take the win. I knew I had the pace from the test, I just had to stay calm, take the opportunities, which I had done with Stanek at the restart and Colapinto also in the end to then be a bit more comfortable at the end of the race.
FIA Formula 2: Were you ever concerned that Arthur could come back to you?
Martins: Before I overtook Colapinto I was a bit concerned because at some point when you’re seven or eight laps behind someone, you use a lot of the tyres, on the braking and so on, you can go off-line at some point because of the low downforce you have. I was a bit concerned but as soon as I got past, I was just focusing ahead. My engineer did a good job telling me ‘stay focused, look forward’ and it’s how I won. I just did that, no mistakes, just driving consistently and properly, I would say.
FIA Formula 2: All in all, how satisfied are you from the first round of the season?
Martins: I’m satisfied because I came back after a tough time after practice. As a second-year driver in the Championship, you can lose a bit your mind if you are P12 after practice and you know that it’s just because of you, you can lose your mind. So I just stayed calm, I just kept the confidence in myself, I kept working with my engineers and with my teammates. So I’m satisfied about this, I knew after a low moment… it’s not that it’s easy for me to come back, but I know how to face the wall and come back the other day. That’s how we do it, I think I just need to score a bit of points in race one, be a bit consistent and be there straight from practice.
FIA Formula 2: Looking ahead to Imola, are you looking forward to racing at that track?
Martins: Yeah, absolutely. I know the track from Formula Renault, I own there. It was really, really nice to race there against the other drivers. We will see, I think there is only one DRS zone… it will be quite difficult I think to overtake, not that easy compared to here. So Qualifying will be the key and I think we have the pace, for sure, in the race, even if it’s only round one. We just need to keep working during the little break and be back with confidence and determination.
FIA Formula 3: Arthur Leclerc, P13 to P2 in today's FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at the Bahrain International Circuit. What a race, how was it from the car?
Arthur Leclerc: I'm so happy, it was really hard in the beginning with the start. There was a lot of traffic and I had to manage a lot of cars everywhere. I had to use my reflexes a bit. Then the race was really good, the race pace was great. I saw that we could fight for the podium so I took all the opportunities I had and I really tried to push for the victory at the end, but Victor had a little bit more. I pushed a bit too much, in the beginning, to make it to the podium. So the second place, I'll take it, and its really good points for the Championship in the first round despite a not so good Qualifying. It's just something to work on for the next race as a team and for sure we can do better.
FIA Formula 3: You've delivered two great races from P13 yesterday and today, how frustrating is it for you not to have Qualified a little bit higher on Friday?
Leclerc: It looks like we struggled a little bit in the team, we know where it's coming from. As well when you have a bit more difficult a car to drive it's a bit difficult for a driver to put a lap together so for sure it was a bit difficult. Like we see in this Championship it's about little details, if you are three tenths off you end up ten positions behind, so it's really small details that make a big difference especially in Qualifying so it's just about putting everything together for the next Quali so I'm not worried.
FIA Formula 3: Round 1 is done, next up is Imola, what do you take from here that will be useful for the next Round?
Leclerc: I think Imola will be a bit harder with the degradation, but I think it will be much colder as well which will help the tyres to survive a bit. The Quali there will be a little bit more important for the race because there's not as much opportunity as here to overtake. Then it's taking the experience and putting it in place at Imola, but it's two different tracks so it's a bit difficult to make a correlation.
FIA Formula 3: Gregoire Saucy, P3 in today's Feature Race at the Bahrain International Circuit. Can we call it a comeback overall from a difficult weekend?
Gregoire Saucy: It was starting well in Qualifying for both me and my teammates, we were P3, P4 and P5. Yesterday was a more difficult day, we need to forget it. Me and Victor we still have a good relationship. We speak a lot together, and we learned from the mistake we made together. We came back stronger today, together and I'm really happy for him for the victory and really happy for me also for P3. It was a really good day after yesterday.
FIA Formula 3: Talking about the race yesterday, starting from P6 and P3 at the flag, how was it from the car?
Saucy: It was really good, I just said thank you to my engineer and all the team, they kept me motivated in the car, on the radio, to stay focused on the front, to catch the guy in front, overtake him and then do it again. I'm really happy with the team.
FIA Formula 3: You have one F3 weekend under your belt now. How easy or challenging was it to adapt to the Championship for the first round?
Saucy: I think it wasn't so difficult because we had some tests here two weeks ago, I think the most difficult thing will be Imola for me, without a test before only 45 minutes of practice. That will be more difficult for me but here I was really confident to start the weekend and I think we did a good job in practice and in qualifying and today in the race.
FIA Formula 3: How are you going to prepare for Imola?
Saucy: I won my first race in Imola last year, and I really like the track. It' has only one zone of DRS so it will be a bit more difficult to overtake than here in Bahrain, but I think we need to stay focused as a team and with all my teammates work the same as we did in Bahrain to do a good Qualifying and afterwards we will see what happens.