No Formula 2 campaign is ever completely plain sailing, especially a rookie season. Kush Maini learnt that even the most consistent of drivers experience bumps in the road during Round 7.
Follow the Campos Racing driver’s thoughts as things didn’t pan out the way him and the team would have envisioned for their home event in Barcelona, but the Indian racer knows that those disappointing days only make him stronger.
“It was a tricky-ish session, just a lot of people doing different things. We went out straight away and obviously, on a completely different compound to what we're going to be running in Qualifying. The track is going to be different as well, so nothing you can really take from this session to Qualifying. We had three days of testing here, so we've driven on the soft compound before. The main thing is just to reflect on how those sessions went, and that will definitely be a closer comparison to what we're going to have in the main session now.
“My consistency gives me confidence for sure. I know I'm quick enough, we've shown it so far, but it's still early days. It's important to keep on this wavelength and keep scoring points, I think that's the main thing.
“The atmosphere in the team is great! Yesterday we all had dinner together in a little compound at the circuit, so the whole of Campos got together. It was great to see everyone united. Everyone's excited to be racing here, so we're going to try to take that to the track and hopefully have a good weekend.
“I live here with the team as well, so we're very close. We understand each other really well and I work really well with my engineer as well. The relationships really help us on track as well and at the end of. the day, they have a quick car and everything seems to be working well.”
“I think the first set of tyres was really good, we were like P5 and the car felt great - everything was going well. I just felt that on the second set we didn't extract as much out of the car and I didn't feel as comfortable, I think there was a difference in warm-up and. I just didn't put it together on the second set and that's the important one, so we didn't make the jump we needed. It’s quite disappointing, but I’ve got two races to try and make up for that.
“The conditions changed massively. I think the track made a step and the compound difference is massive because we're going two steps lower, so I felt a lot more grip, It was a lot better to drive, but we still didn't make the most of the tyres with the low fuel and it cost us today.
“In the Sprint Race, it’s just about seeing how it plays out. It tends to be a train here, so it will be quite tricky to make my way forward, but we'll take every chance we get. I think the Feature Race is still wide open with strategy. I'm going to try and get into the points in both, but we'll see how it goes.
“It’s a long run down into Turn 1. As soon as you get that launch, hopefully a good one, you try and get into someone’s tow and hopefully pick up a couple of positions. It tends to be quite tricky here at the start with the way the corners are, there tends to be some mess sometimes. So, just watch out for that and try and pick up positions. If we get some free positions that would be great, but from then on, I think we just need strong race pace to try and get in front.”
“I felt like we didn't have the pace to move forward, even though on the first few laps I made-up like a couple of positions. We were knocking at the door of the top 10, but something just didn't feel right and I didn't feel comfortable in the car. The team and I found out after what the issue was, so we were happy to have a reason behind the lack of pace. We made the change to the slicks because we had no pace on the wets and we took a gamble. Then there was a Safety Car. A frustrating race, but I'm happy we found the problem for that. At the end of the day when you have a solution, it's a better feeling going to bed at night.
“The conditions were tricky, a lot of spray, so we didn't really see anything into the Turn 1. Most of the field were pretty cautious, so it was relatively clean. Early on, I felt decent pace in the car and I felt I had more confidence than a couple of guys in front of me. As soon as we started dropping off a lot, we chose to box and try our luck. I think that the slicks were very tricky to manage, especially the first lap and I had a lock-up on the second lap and that was basically the end of my race as I had to box again for another set.
“I think I made a good call on the slicks because at the end of the race we did quite quick lap times and obviously the Safety Car came out, which everyone else boxed as well. If the Safety Car hadn't come out, it would have been the right call. I’m happy that I feel like we made the right call at the right time, but it wasn't meant to be.”
“Another tough race - this weekend not many things came together. We've had five very, very strong weekends and I always knew in a season of racing, you're going to have your bad weekends and this was definitely one of them. Nothing seemed to go right, again lacked a bit of pace which the team and I dove into over the last couple of days and figured out what the issue was, so I'm sure our pace will be back to what it was in the first five rounds, but it’s frustrating. We missed the chance this weekend to score more points, but our time will come, I'm sure.
“In the race, I couldn't really do much, it was tough to follow. When you don't have the pace edge on the others, it's just a train. We stretched the stint on the primes, but honestly, it wasn't the best strategy to keep driving on the prime. We were hoping for a late Safety Car that would play us back into the race because we were too far back to fight. We had to try something different, we tried that and obviously it didn't play into our hands. When it's not your weekend, it's not your weekend and you just got to do the best you can.
“There are always positives. Mentally, the tough weekends make you a lot stronger. When everything's going right, it's very easy to be in a good place and to drive your best. But as soon as things start to go wrong, especially this weekend nothing really went our way, these weekends really teach you a lot about yourself. I think it's very important that you understand how to tackle bad weekends because everyone's going to have them and it's how you bounce back after that. You can either let it take you down or you can fight back, so definitely things learned, but a far from ideal weekend.”
“The first five tracks this season I didn't really know particularly well. Obviously, in Barcelona, we did a lot of testing, but the tracks I was really looking forward to are coming now. Silverstone, Budapest - tracks I'm very comfortable with. I've driven there a lot in the past in different categories, so I'm definitely excited.
“Even Spielberg, it's a great track to drive, very high speed and I'm excited to see what we can do. I think we have a strong package and some strong tracks for us coming up. In terms of my mindset, I'm going to go in as every weekend, treat it like any other race, not put the extra pressure on myself and just do you what I know I can do.
“Goals-wise, I'm just going to stick to it weekend-by-weekend. Points are my main goal every race and stay consistent. I'm sure we'll have our bad weekends, which we did. We’ve just got to put that in the past and focus on the present moment and see what we can do in this moment to prepare well for the next races and do what I've been doing. I think it seemed to have worked and stay with the same mindset, but I’m really, really looking forward to the second-half of the season.”