Richard Verschoor is adamant that he and his Trident team have got what it takes to keep their positive points-scoring momentum going, but admits he is somewhat on the backfoot compared to his rookie rivals around Circuit Zandvoort.
While he’s not getting caught up in the pressure of a home race, the Dutchman returns to duel in the dunes for the first time in six years, having last raced around the 4.259km back in his 2016 Formula 4 days.
Initially, his weekend did not get off to the best start after struggling during the opening half of the 45-minute Practice session, but Verschoor reckons their running in the second half proves they’ve managed to turn things around ahead of Qualifying.
“We started off very badly, we were quite far off with the balance. Then luckily after the Red Flag, we made quite a big change, the car got much better straightaway, and we went back up to P6-P7. In the end, we dropped to P10 because I made a mistake. I was quite happy with how we ended up, but the beginning was quite difficult.”
Although the stop-start nature of the session gave Verschoor an opportunity to reset and refocus, the likelihood of Red Flags during Friday afternoon’s Qualifying has left him concerned, but he’s optimistic that he can get on the pace quickly in order to secure that all-important top 10 grid slot.
Cracking into the upper end of the order could be crucial to making or breaking a driver’s results this weekend and with tyre degradation rearing its head during the opening running, Verschoor reckons that the newcomers to the Championship now have the upper hand, having previously raced here in Formula 3 last year.
“Well, I had zero laps in Spa so it cannot be much worse! I’m happy with the laps I got, and I felt comfortable during the last three laps, I was pushing the car to the limit and hopefully, I can be straight on it on the soft tyres. It’s almost impossible to overtake here. It will be very, very important to get a good starting position.
“The hard tyres were degrading quite a bit towards the end and graining so that's never a good sign. I think that most people will go for two push laps anyways on both sets.
“You can see that Jack (Doohan), Logan (Sargeant), Amaury (Cordeel), Frederik (Vesti) and quite few people that have been before in an F3 car are in front of me. With this banking it’s quite difficult, some lines you have to take differently than five-six years ago, so you can see that experience with this track helps. It’s the same with Monaco – if you’ve been there the year before it’s much easier.”