The highest-placed driver to opt for the alternate strategy from P13 on the grid, Arthur Leclerc’s gamble paid off as he secured eighth in the Feature Race. Bringing home the four points on offer, and the one available for the fastest lap, was positive, but Monégasque reckons the potential was there for more given DAMS’ consistently strong race pace in Jeddah.

While his rivals ahead elected to start on the grippier supersoft tyres, Leclerc played the waiting game on the medium prime tyres. Holding his own off the line, it was only a matter of time before the option runners would need to pit and the DAMS driver was there to assume the lead on Lap 9.

With no Safety Car in sight to take advantage of, Leclerc eventually boxed on Lap 24, but a slow stop meant he was undercut by Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor. Nevertheless, he was pleased to have demonstrated the pace he needed to end his Saudi Arabian debut on a high.

“It was an amazing race! In terms of pace, we worked quite a lot after Free Practice because I think in Free Practice, we were not so good at the beginning on the weekend. Then the team gave me a really good car for Qualifying, I did a small mistake that compromised all the rest of the weekend, but we can be happy about the Feature Race.

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He added: “We made a really good step forwards I think for our race pace. The first stint was really great on the mediums where we able to keep the tyres (going for) really long. Then after, we boxed – a little bit unfortunate with the pit stop, but P8 at the end. We did two really good stints, really good pace, so we can be happy.”

Overall, the second round of the season has been a successful one for DAMS, after Ayumu Iwasa secured Saturday’s Sprint Race victory and a double points finish in fourth on Sunday. As result, they’ve closed the points gap to Teams’ Championship leaders Campos Racing from 25 to seven.

READ MORE: FEATURE RACE: Vesti battles to brilliant Jeddah win

Reflecting on the lessons he’s taken from the opening two weekends of his rookie Formula 2 season, the Ferrari junior believes the cooperation between himself and the team has been instrumental, as he gradually gains a better understanding of his new machinery.

“I think we are doing a step forwards every time I’m coming into the car. We get along really well, so when we have an issue, they are able to localise it. That’s why every time we are going out on track, we do a step forward and we just need to keep pushing, keep progressing, me as well and all together we’ll achieve good results.

“I learnt massively, especially because for a rookie, Formula 2 is not an easy category. I learnt a lot about the car, a lot about the race and every time I’m jumping in the car, I’m getting more experience and a lot more information about the car.”

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That relationship could be vital for Leclerc’s chances next time out, as the Championship makes its debut in Australia in a fortnight’s time. Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit is uncharted territory for everyone – drivers and teams – potentially levelling out the playing field between the rookies and returnees.

Waiting to see how their simulator runs correlate to the real-life experience, Leclerc believes DAMS’ rate of improvement means their car could be a top five contender.

READ MORE: Fittipaldi: Jeddah points evidence of growing Rodin Carlin momentum

“I think it’ll be a starting point for everyone. Like we could see, I think ART have found something – I don’t know what yet, but we need to keep working on our side. I think anyways we have a good car to go for the top five.

“Melbourne obviously is a new track, so we need to discover the track and how the car is behaving there, but we keep pushing and I’m really looking forward to discovering Melbourne.”