Andrea Kimi Antonelli was disappointed to miss out on a maiden Formula 2 podium in the Melbourne Feature Race. However, he was still keen to take the positives given that P4 represented his best result so far in the Championship.

The PREMA Racing driver’s weekend started well when he qualified on the front row for the first time this year, losing out on pole position to MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger by 0.3s.

The lead changed hands between the pair in the opening couple of laps before Invicta Racing’s Kush Maini came through to overtake both on his mediums, as they began to struggle on their supersoft tyres.

Antonelli and a gaggle of his rivals opted to swap to the prime tyres, but a Safety Car brought about by Hauger’s crash allowed Isack Hadjar, who pitted a lap later, get the advantage, jumping ahead of the Italian for the effective race lead.

"We will try to change the philosophy on how to set the car up in order to try and find something"

The PREMA #4 racer then made his way past the cars that had not pitted but in doing, so lost positions to Hitech Pulse-Eight rival Paul Aron and Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney, meaning he took the chequered flag in P4.

Speaking immediately in the paddock after the race, Antonelli said: “To be honest, it's a shame we just missed out on the podium once again. I think the race started pretty well, pace looked strong, I was able to keep up with the leaders. But then after the pit stop, I really struggled to be honest with the balance and the pace was not there.

“The worst thing is we suffered a lot more deg compared to the others around and it was really hard to keep up. Honestly, I don't have much more to say, we just need to keep working in the three days of testing in Barcelona.”

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Looking ahead to what PREMA will be keen to address in the test, Antonelli added: “Obviously we will try to change the philosophy or thinking on how to set the car up in order to try and find something, also to catch up with the others.

“I mean overall it was a positive weekend, it was a good Quali and also the race we were still there so I think in Qualifying, we are quite strong at the moment but where we need to make a bit step is in the race and to try to find a balance that helps a bit more.

Antonelli fell away in the second stint of the Feature Race in Melbourne
Antonelli fell away in the second stint of the Feature Race in Melbourne

“Also, throughout the race I lost quite a bit of confidence, but I know the team is working really hard, they are doing their best. It's not as easy moment for us but I am confident that we will find a way out at some point.”

Explaining further how difficult tyre management was in Melbourne while looking forward to his home race in Imola in Round 4, the Mercedes Junior Team driver said: “It was quite difficult. At the end, on the options I feel like the pace was strong.

“We suffered a bit of a rear drop, but I think it’s because the options were dropping quite a bit. I was quite happy with the balance but then on the prime I was a bit surprised, especially with the balance shift I had.

“Also, we had quite a big drop to be honest, especially compared to the others, something that wasn't really looking likely in the Sprint, so it was quite weird.

“We were sliding quite a lot, and the tyre just gave up lap by lap more and more, so then it was quite difficult to manage, especially the last three laps, they were really difficult. Now we move on and we will see what we can do in the next round at Imola.”