Thoughts from Minì, Bortoleto and Saucy
FIA Formula 3: A very warm welcome to the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at the Bahrain International Circuit, starting in third place will be Grégoire Saucy for ART Grand Prix in second place, Gabriel Bortoleto for Trident, and taking pole position on his Formula 3 debut Gabriele Minì for Hitech Pulse-Eight. Gabriele, many congratulations. What a performance by you on debut, can you describe what this means to you?
Gabriele Minì: Thank you very much. First of all, getting a pole on debut is amazing. Of course, starting the Feature Race, the main race, the most important one, on pole will be key because it's where you get the most points. This means a lot, and it's a really good way to start also in the new Alpine colours and also with a new team.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us a little bit about the car, how was it performing out there? Did you have to change it much during the session?
Minì: Not really. I think already from testing two weeks ago, we were pretty good. Also, today already in Free Practice we were good and once again in Quali, we didn't touch much on the car. It was feeling good all the way. It was a very good job from the team and also the lap I think was good. Good enough to be on pole at least!
FIA Formula 3: What is the strategy for you for the rest of this weekend?
Minì: Well, of course, we have to be careful tomorrow in the Sprint Race starting from P12. It will be a tricky start for sure, and then we'll see what the pace looks like. Then for the Feature Race, the goal will be to win.
FIA Formula 3: Best of luck with that and many congratulations once again on that pole position. Gabriel, if we come to you now, quickest in practice. You left it late in the session during Qualifying to get that time in. Talk us through it.
Gabriel Bortoleto: So I ran three sets of tyres. I made a mistake on my second set and on my first set the lap was cancelled because I went over track limits at T4. I also had the pressure to make the lap because if not I would be at the back of the grid. I managed to put a decent lap on the board and now I'm starting P2 for the Feature Race. I think the front row in the first race is very good for me.
FIA Formula 3: You used those three sets of tyres as you've just described. So, can we take from that that you were slightly struggling with the balance of the car?
Bortoleto: No, I think it's it's more on a strategy that we decided before even starting the Qualifying. For sure after I made my mistake on the second set, so it was obvious that we needed to put the third set anyway. Maybe if I had done a very good lap on the second set to put me on pole, I could have avoided using the third one. But I think it was good to use the third set and be P2 at the end of Quali.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you and Grégoire coming to you now, you were very quick in testing. Talk us through what didn't look like the easiest of sessions for you.
Grégoire Saucy: No, actually it wasn't the easiest session on my first set, so we put also three sets of new tyres on the car. On my first set of new tyres, I made a mistake in T6 where I lost the car, so I needed to abort the lap. Then on the second push, I made also a little mistake. Third push, a little mistake also. So P3 is a really good result. I made some mistakes so I'm not really happy with myself, but I will learn a lot from this session. There are two races, tomorrow and Sunday and I will try with the team to push as hard as possible.
FIA Formula: Now, Grégoire, it seems that a lot of drivers were making mistakes during that Qualifying session. What were the track conditions like? Was it windy?
Saucy: It was, also the wind changed a bit between Free Practice and Quali and of course so does the grip of the track because we are the first ones on the track, then it was FP for Formula 2 and then FP1 for Formula 1. So, the grip changed quite a lot between sessions. The track improved and it's more like drivers needing to adapt to the track.
FIA Formula 3: Alright, well look good luck in the races to you.