Frederik Vesti’s sixth-place finish was a strong result according to the Dane, but it might have been even better on another day. The PREMA Racing driver recovered from a grid penalty and lining up P9 to secure points in the Jeddah Sprint Race.
Vesti feels that the team had a much better race pace than single lap speed and, had the race had been a few laps longer, more points were on the table.
“It was a good race in the end, we were quite fast,” Vesti summarised. “I wished the race was five laps longer to be honest because by the end, we were flying. I think P4 was possible. I was struggling a bit in the beginning, had a bit of a bad start which put us on the back foot. The race was positive after that, and it was something we can use ahead of tomorrow. I got the pace up as it went on, got more confident in the car but I think the car just came to me a bit which helped.”
Vesti had a late-race battle with Jack Doohan and Jak Crawford, passing both in the final laps to rise up to sixth. His overtakes on the Invicta Virtuosi Racing and Hitech Pulse-Eight cars came in the closing stages as the PREMA felt better and better with every lap that went by. Those moves were hugely satisfying for him as he achieved his first points of the 2023 season.
“It was a really nice race, I can only smile as a racing driver when you have a race like that and you’re able to overtake. It’s always an interesting race when you can overtake and having a few good moves is always fun.”
Though the PREMA team struggled over a Qualifying lap, Vesti expects better things in the Feature Race on Sunday. With the medium tyre available once again, the other tyre this weekend is one step softer than in 2022.
The tyre of choice in Qualifying, the supersofts will re-appear tomorrow and a few drivers might opt to start on the purple-walled tyres. Vesti believes that after two Safety Cars in the Sprint Race, there is potential for more of the same in the Feature event, playing a role in every team’s strategy decisions.
“Strategy will be interesting. Last year, both strategies were quite fast but here there’s a high chance of Safety Cars. You need to try and pre-empt it, but you just need to go with what you think is fastest and then try to react to anything that happens. The goal is to win tomorrow. As always.”
With points on the board on Saturday, Vesti says that Sunday should be more of the same. A weakness of the team in Sakhir, PREMA said it was confident heading to Jeddah that its tyre wear woes had been sorted. After Vesti’s Sprint performance, those estimations look to be correct and could lead to more rewards for the Italian outfit.
“I think we can take the confidence that we were able to overtake a few people that were faster than us in Qualifying. This probably means that we underperformed a bit in Qualifying, but it means we have the pace for tomorrow. So if we go aggressive and get a good start tomorrow, we can have a chance of good points.”