Sébastien Philippe was very pleased with how his ART Grand Prix team performed in Spielberg but insists they can still be better heading to Silverstone for Round 7.

The French outfit scored 50 points across the weekend – the most of any team in the paddock – as Nikola Tsolov won the Sprint Race, where he was joined on the podium by Christian Mansell, who finished third.

ART then scored points with all three cars in the Feature Race and while that was satisfying for the Team Principal, he was still frustrated by the “small mistake” that cost them a possible Sprint one-two.

HIGHLIGHTS: Luke Browning wins Spielberg Feature Race from the front

“I mean it is quite a good feeling because we had probably our best weekend so far in terms of points,” said Philippe. “I think we scored something like 50 points as a team. We put Christian back in the game on the Drivers’ side but there are still a few things that we could have done better.

“We had a small mistake in the Sprint Race, which was quite frustrating with the Safety Car, there was a bit of a misunderstanding with Christian and I think he should have won the Saturday race or at least we should have a one and two instead of one and three.

“But I am a happy with the double podium, but we missed the one-two for nothing. After on Sunday, it was a quite good recovery, good pace during the race.

Tsolov won his second Sprint Race of the year on Saturday in Spielberg
Tsolov won his second Sprint Race of the year on Saturday in Spielberg

“I think in Quali we had the potential to do a little bit better but for different reasons like management of the quali but still the three cars where in the top 12 so this was good and we could see the pace in yesterday's race, especially for Christian, was really mega.

“Very happy with the result but I think we could have even done a bit better because I think he was very close to P2 yesterday. I think one or two more laps would have done it. A very positive performance, drivers plus car, so it was a very good weekend and gives us good confidence for the end of the season.”

Following Mansell’s run to P4 in the Feature Race, with Tsolov behind in sixth and Laurens van Hoepen in eighth, Philippe continued to praise the performances of his drivers, given that no team scored more points than ART across the last two rounds in Barcelona and Spielberg.

FEATURE RACE: Browning faultless in second victory of 2024

“I am very happy with them,” he continued. “Very happy with how it went the last two weekends so far. Now we still need to work hard, stay very focused because the line between missing or not is very narrow.

“There is a lot of competition, and we can see that in Quali, lap time differences are quite small. So, it's very important to optimise everything and we go for sure in Silverstone with a lot of confidence and to keep the ball rolling.”

Philippe went on to speak further about the performances of Mansell given that the Australian driver is now fifth in the Drivers’ Championship on 78 points – trailing leader Luke Browning by 28 points.

Mansell is now fifth in the Championship but was disappointed not to win the Sprint Race in Spielberg
Mansell is now fifth in the Championship but was disappointed not to win the Sprint Race in Spielberg

He is however still missing that first Formula 3 victory having finished as a close second in the Monte Carlo and Barcelona Feature Races. Mansell was also quite frustrated having narrowly missed out on winning the Spielberg Sprint, but Philippe says that’s a good thing.

“It's good frustration from Christian, that’s what I told him.” Philippe. “You're frustrated but this lets me know we are doing a good job, and we always want more. But again, I think his global weekend was really strong.

“In terms of points he scored a lot of points and it's good that he is pushing for more because this means that the aim is to win, and we are on a good trajectory with that. But I am very happy about his global performance this weekend and let's keep pushing.”

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Next up is Round 7 in Silverstone and with ART now having moved up to second in the Teams’ Championship ahead of Trident and behind PREMA Racing, Philippe says they are going into the weekend with high hopes.

“For sure we go with high expectations because when you have the two last weekend’s working well you want to continue on this line,” he added. “I think the approach from everybody in the team is very positive at the moment.

“Now, FP will be very important over there because weekends go so quickly in terms of laps, so it is important to have a very strong Friday, to have a good understanding of what we need to fine tune for Quali after the FP, and we go with expectations but let's work hard and see where it brings us.”