PREMA Racing’s Gabriele Minì has recently been reflecting on his start to the season that has him at the top of the Drivers’ Championship after four rounds.

The Italian driver has scored points in seven out of the eight races so far and won the Monte Carlo Feature Race from Pole to take the lead in the Standings.

But as he gave a detailed account of his season so far, Minì admitted that things have not been easy, starting with his opening Free Practice session in Sakhir where he ended up in the gravel.

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“We have had four rounds, first being in Bahrain, and we didn't start off great,” said Minì. “We missed the first FP but then I think we managed to recover well in Quali, a lot of wind that day so it was not easy to adapt that day to the wind direction changes.

“Also, because we missed FP for sure we could have done something better, but we still managed to save it quite well, still top three, did a decent Sprint Race, gained the first points. But in the Feature Race, we didn't have a good start.

“With Dino Beganovic’s issue, I got blocked and lost many places and the pace just wasn't quite there to overtake so we stayed in that position, but we got points. In Melbourne it was a pretty strong weekend, straight away we were really on pace, we were really quick.

“Qualifying, it was a shame to miss Pole by very little but again we were in the top three where we want to be. We had been strong in the Sprint but struggled a bit more in the Feature Race.

Minìs victory in Monaco gave him the lead of the Drivers Championship
Minì's victory in Monaco gave him the lead of the Drivers' Championship

“But from then on, we worked hard to improve our race pace, especially in the Feature Races because the Sprint Races have never been a problem but in the Feature, we struggled a bit more especially in Bahrain and Melbourne.”

But reflecting on the two rounds in Imola and Monte Carlo that followed the in-season test in Barcelona, Minì says they have marked an improvement in their Feature Race form.

“Straight away from Imola we could see the results,” he said. “Even though we didn't have a great Qualifying and didn't maximise the potential that we had, it was only a P6, the potential was there for a P3.

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“Again, we managed to score good points in the Sprint Race and then we had really quick pace in the Feature, just a shame to have an issue at the start which dropped me to P12. But with our strong pace we managed to save tyres better and we caught up at the end.

“Then Monaco, the race is made more in Qualifying than the race itself, so we needed to get that pole to try and get that win of course and this is what we did. We maximised well what we had, we delivered on that last lap while we got advantage from other’s mistakes and managed to get pole.

“There wasn’t much to do in the Sprint Race, just waiting and getting data for the Feature Race, and in the Feature, we just managed the rhythm, managed the gap, and brought the win home.

Minì is looking forward to returning to Barcelona this weekend for Round 5 of the season
Minì is looking forward to returning to Barcelona this weekend for Round 5 of the season

“I think we have had a good start, we improved quite a lot in the last two rounds, compared to the first two where the Sprint Race was really stronger, and we struggled a bit more in the Feature and that wasn't the case in the last two events. Hopefully, we can keep going with that trend, also improving race after race and keep the form that we have had in the last rounds.”

So, what exactly changed following the in-season test? Minì says a few things but mainly he looked at areas he could improve within himself.

“To be honest in Barcelona you can work on the tyre management but it’s not really as effective,” he explained. “You have a different compound and the Hard is another story compared to Medium and Soft tyres in terms of degradation.

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“I worked a bit better on my tyre management, and the team also worked in the direction we wanted. I think in those races, the driver can make a difference of maybe two laps in getting the graining a bit later or just getting it less. So, I think what I need to do is focus on myself and try and do the best I can.

“Then we know that also setup wise it depends on many factors which are all not in our control, so we are all doing our best. But if there is something I have worked on a lot it's myself because that's the only thing I can control.”

Despite these issues, Minì is coming into a race weekend as the Championship leader for the first time this season. While he is pleased with that and says it provides a “boost of confidence”, he is every more encouraged by his strong performances in Imola and Monaco.

Minì says he has complete trust in PREMA ahead of the rest of the season
Minì says he has complete trust in PREMA ahead of the rest of the season

He has no plans to let up anytime soon though, the Italian has been hard at work in the simulator looking to hit the ground running at the next few races.

“I am feeling quite okay, quite good,” said Minì, looking ahead to Barcelona. “It's a triple-header so it’s key to not be affected too much by one round. As I said if it goes well do not relax, if it goes bad do not go down.

“So, preparation will be key, and the simulator will be key so that we will be there straight from the first push laps because we will not have many laps in general. But I am feeling good, I have full trust in the team and the work they will do, we are both feeling good, we just have to go there and see how it goes.”