Zane Maloney put in a stellar comeback performance in the Jeddah Sprint Race to climb from P15 on the grid to fifth in 20 laps. The Rodin Motorsport driver added to his Championship points tally against the odds and is very positive about his team’s chances going into Saturday.

Reflecting on his drive through the field, Maloney says that a clean opening phase of the race was crucial to his chances. After that, he says the team has retained their strong pace from Round 1 and were able to show that around an entirely different style of circuit.

“I had a great start, think I made up six or seven places at the start,” the Bajan driver explained. “To be honest, the goal of this race was to finish and get some data tomorrow. We didn’t expect to get any points so to get four is amazing and the team did a great job.

“In terms of making the moves, it was just really about being confident in myself and being confident in the package that we have. The car has been fast all year. Yesterday was unfortunate but we made up for it today and we’ll try to do the same tomorrow.”

Battles with DAMS Lucas Oil’s Jak Crawford and Invicta Racing driver Kush Maini showed that Maloney was able to keep his tyres in check and maximise his impressive pace.

The Sauber Academy Driver talent says the overtaking opportunities proved plentiful despite the tight layout of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

“I did have a good battle with Kush. We were so on the limit in Turn 1 I had to cut Turn 2. In the past I would have waited for the team to tell me to give the place back, but then you lose a second or two, so I just gave it back to him straightaway and thought I can get him again.

Maloney rebounded from a difficult Qualifying in style to reach the points in the Sprint
Maloney rebounded from a difficult Qualifying in style to reach the points in the Sprint

“Getting close enough to everyone is already difficult so making big moves, especially into Turn 1 was quite sketchy at certain points. But this is the first time in a while that I've properly made some good moves on the brakes, so I’m really happy about that.”

It has been some start for the Rodin driver in what is his second F2 campaign. Maloney believes the new car hasn’t made a difference altogether, but his evolution as a driver from year one to two in Formula 2 is becoming more and more evident.

The Championship leader says that his strong opening to the 2024 campaign has been about things clicking into place earlier in the year than in 2023.

READ MORE: SPRINT RACE: Verschoor dominates to score Jeddah victory for Trident

“It's not easy. I don't think it's the old car versus the new car. I think I've just clicked a bit more in general as a driver. I think if we were in the old car right now, it would still be similar from my side.

“I understand why we're this fast, which is always good and then just keep trying to improve more and more because it's not like we just came from 15th and won the race again. We're not that much faster than everyone else. That's not the case. “Everyone is fast and there's loads of drivers out there that are fast too, we just need to keep trying to chip away and try to be towards the front all the time.

The Rodin Motorsport driver believes the team has the pace to do well in the Feature
The Rodin Motorsport driver believes the team has the pace to do well in the Feature

With 40 points to his name across three races, Maloney is yet to finish outside of the top five in 2024. The Bajan driver maintains that it is far too early to be thinking big picture in terms of Championship aspirations, but says he is well placed to climb up the order again.

“I think the best thing with the mindset is to not change it. We came from Bahrain to here and we were slow in Qualifying and were a lot further back than we should have been. So, the mindset was always the same going into today.

“It’s way too early to be thinking about the Championship, but it's started off well and we just need to keep building on this”

“If I was starting P3, I’d be trying to win and if I'm starting 15th then I'm trying to get as high as possible. So, nothing changed. I think it shows that we're not changing the mindset and how we're going about racing, so we'll just continue this way.

“We'll see what strategy we're gonna do. We have the pace, so we don't need to do anything crazy. We just need to have a good start again and a good lap one.

“It’s quite good overtaking here because of all of the DRS zones, so we need to try to maximise it. I think that if we have a good race, with good pace and a clean race, we can get ourselves quite high in the points but that doesn't always happen.

“It’s way too early to be thinking about the Championship. Of course, I hope to win the F2 Championship, put it that way. It’s a very good start, but until we get another 10 rounds in then I won’t have an answer for you, but it has started off well and we just need to keep building on this.”