Up to third in the Championship after two wins from as many rounds, Robert Shwartzman says his sparkling form has nothing to do with an upturn in confidence, but instead an increase in patience.
The PREMA Racing driver has scored more than double as many points in the last two rounds than he did in the opening two combined, with just one pointless finish from the last seven, after failing to score three times in the opening five.
After winning the opening Sprint Race in Silverstone, Shwartzman finished out of the points in the second, but bounced back to jump from seventh to fifth in a blisteringly hot Feature Race, despite a lack of overtaking opportunities.
“I think that in general, the weekend was very positive,” said Shwartzman. “Race 2 didn't go well at all, there were a few mistakes and then the spin in the last lap, but I was out of the points anyway, so I didn't lose anything, plus it was just really tough to get past.
“I made a pretty good start in the Feature Race and managed to get past (Théo) Pourchaire and then had a tight fight with Felipe (Drugovich). I got ahead at Turn 9 around the outside, and fair play to him, he left me some room.
“I am happy because I got some good points. Qualifying was a little compromised because of a mistake, but I am happy that from seventh, we managed to get some really decent points.
“It is not that I am more confident than before, it’s that I have become more patient. Coming here, we knew what we had to do to deliver. We didn't have the pace today, so P5 was the maximum that we could have done. It’s important to maximise every single race because every point counts.”
Shwartzman's Formula 2 title bid unravelled at Silverstone back in 2020, with three pointless races out of four. Fast forward a year and it’s had the opposite effect, cementing his place as a serious contender.
Much of that is thanks to better race starts – a factor the team labelled as crucial for Silverstone.
“Compared to this round last year, we have made improvements,” continued the Russian. “Silverstone is not my strongest track, so I am satisfied with the job we did.
“The start was good in Race 1, and we managed to get the win, which I really wanted here after last year. I want to thank the team because they have been working really hard. Our prep was really good, and we improved our starts.
“In all three races, I got a really good start, but because in Race 1 I managed to go from P4 to P1, you have the impression that it was only in that race, but actually, in terms of the numbers, they were very, very similar and that is what we were searching for. We needed that, so I am very happy.”
The only downside for Shwartzman was a lack of long-run pace in the Feature Race, but with two months to work on that before the next round of the season in Monza, and a rough idea of the solution, he isn’t worried.
“I have some ideas of what it might be, and I think that we can improve it,” said Shwartzman. “I am pretty confident that we will be very, very strong in Monza and Sochi.
“We will go back, analyse what happened at Silverstone, and then have a break before going in with a fresh head to look at Monza. We will focus on improving the negatives and retaining the positives. I am really looking forward to the next round.”