Despite missing out on the opportunity to fight for victory during the Silverstone Feature Race, Frederik Vesti says that ART Grand Prix can take some positives from the weekend.
Though he was frustrated not to make the most of his promising grid position, Vesti said that the recovey drive was a good sign for future rounds and that the team was able to maximise the race with its strategy.
"The Feature wasn’t really the race I wanted it to be. At the same time, I was head down and I tried to push. We did a really good strategy call to box a bit early and get some good laps in before Drugovich and Iwasa boxed and I came out in front of them and was very close to Lawson as well. So it was a very good job from the team and also the pace in the car to make that happen.
"The car’s been really good all weekend. As you can see with Théo (Pourchaire) as well, he’s been doing really well. I did P2 in Qualifying so that’s been really good. That’s the stuff we need in order to move forward."
The Dane had lined up P2 on the grid but a slow getaway ruined his chances of being involved in the podium battle. After being able to review the start with his engineers, Vesti says that excess wheelspin was the cause of his lacking launch.
Without it, he believes that ART had the pace to fight Carlin's Logan Sargeant for the victory along with teammate Pourchaire.
"We stalled in Baku and this was the first race start we ever did since and it just wasn’t right. I dropped the clutch and got massive wheel spin and lost four positions, coming down to P6. That was very frustrating being in that position after the first lap, knowing I could probably have won that race having a good start."
There will be little time to dwell on the lost result though with Round 8 at the Red Bull Ring coming up immediately.
For Vesti, the circuit holds good memories and he'll be aiming to replicate his form from 2021 when he last visited Spielberg back in Formula 3. He claimed victory in Race 3 last season and says a repeat could be on the cards based on ART's recent form.
"I’m sure we can challenge for pole and podiums in Spielberg. It’s a great track for me. I won there last year in F3, so good memories as well. It’s a classic track, I’ve driven it since I was 14 years-old, so it’s completely different to Jeddah or Bahrain that I’d never done before or gone for testing.
"It’s a huge benefit having a lot of experience before you did start pushing in Free Practice and Qualifying. I’m sure there’s great potential there and I want to try to do a good Qualifying probably, hopefully get more points than we did this weekend with the pace we had.
"Of course it’s racing and you never know what can happen. But the main thing is is that we have the pace and I’ve found my rhythm with the car and team in terms of Qualifying. That has made a huge difference because in the beginning of the year, we were starting at the back end of the grid, and there was just no way I was going to score good points. So starting in the top 10 and ahead in the races just makes it a lot easier."
It might not have been a podium at Silverstone but Vesti's current form is one of the best streaks in the Championship currently. The ART driver has a points streak bettered by just three drivers on the 2022 grid. Those rivals are fourth, third and first in the Championship respectively.
Vesti says that hard work away from the track has been the primary factor that has turned his form and season around from the early rounds.
"There’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes. The main problem has been I haven’t had the pace in Free Practice, for example in Monaco. Then going into Qualifying, getting new tyres, plus having to find what else we were losing in FP, the gap was just too big to close down. It was difficult for me to set a good lap time before a red flag would happen. That mistake would happen so as soon as I started to push more and get closer to the top in FP, I just started Quali a lot stronger.
"That really showed really well at Silverstone, going P1 on the first push. That’s the direction we’re working at. There’s even more to come on that so it’s really exciting.”