Amaury Cordeel was left feeling bittersweet following the Yas Marina Sprint Race but acknowledged that he put together a strong race.
The Van Amersfoort Racing driver finished fifth but had been contending for a podium until the final laps. Even though he lost out in the fight for the podium, the P5 finish is his best result in Formula 2.
After stepping out of the car and having time to reflect, Cordeel said that while it was disappointing to come so close to a maiden Formula 2 podium, he could be satisfied with the progress he has made from the start of the 2022 season.
“I’m disappointed that we didn't end up on the podium, of course. I think I pushed a bit too much in the beginning of the race and that's what cost us in the last five laps, that pace advantage that we lost.
“But I think it was a good learning experience for next year. I learned how to drive at the front end of the pack, so I think that's a good learning step, but just disappointed that we lost the podium at the end there.”
Since the summer break, Cordeel has recorded three points finishes in four rounds. The Belgian driver says that a renewed approach and a change of mentality is behind the improvements from earlier in the year.
“I think I’ve been more confident in the car and just my mindset changed a bit. I think hard work pays off and I think I worked a bit harder after the race ban and after the summer break. I think that’s caused me to work harder and that’s why I have the pace now.”
Up until the very latter stages, Cordeel had looked comfortable but his admitted inexperience in battling at the front ended up costing him against F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich. He showed his racing IQ though in the battle with Dennis Hauger for fourth, forcing the PREMA Racing driver to fight hard for the position despite his tyres going away from him.
“It was a great battle with Dennis. I’m sad I lost the position on the podium, but I think it's great result anyway, especially for next year and it's a nice confidence boost. I think the team worked hard for it, we both did, so I think we deserve it.”
Looking ahead to the tomorrow, Cordeel says he will need to be better with tyre management, the factor that took him out of contention for the podium on Saturday.
With the Feature Race getting underway earlier in the day and temperatures higher as a result, managing the Pirelli rubber will be critical. The VAR driver says he will be working hard overnight to study the data and find a better way of managing the tyres.
“I think I could manage the tyres a bit more in the beginning of the race because on the final lap, I was thinking I had to do a bit more in the beginning of the race. In the end, I lost the tyres in the last four or five laps and that first was the podium gone. So, I'm happy for the result but also sad because we didn’t get to be on the podium.
“Now of course, I think we need to sit down with the team, discuss what we can do on the car a little bit and also with my driving, if I could change the beginning stint of the race to manage the tyres a little bit better. If we get that worked out, then I think it could be a great result tomorrow.”