Marcus Armstrong endured an eventful Friday at Imola, as he turned a lack of running during practice following a crash into a P9 result in Qualifying.
In the early stages of the practice session, which was delayed several hours due to treacherous rain, Armstrong crashed out after losing control of his car on the run toward Turn 11.
However, the Hitech Grand Prix driver recovered strongly in the Qualifying session, as he placed himself inside the top ten with the ninth fastest lap time. As a result, he will start Saturday’s Sprint Race from the front row of the grid.
The New Zealand racer described his Friday as a long day, stating that his Free Practice shunt was the “weirdest crash” he’s experienced in his career.
“It was not a very clean day. It seemed to be 48 hours opposed to 24 because I messed up in Free Practice,” Armstrong said. “The grip was very low and it took me by surprise. I was not even pushing to be honest, I was on a warm up lap.
“The car completely dropped on me. I would say it was the weirdest crash I’ve ever had. I just had literally no grip at the moment that I lost the car. I had zero warning of the car oversteering.
“That was a shame because we didn’t get to do any laps in Free Practice. Ultimately, Qualifying was in similar conditions so we were not really prepared very well.”
Having built back up his confidence after the crash, Armstrong says he will work to extract pace from the car, asserting he knows there is speed to be unlocked.
“I lost a lot of confidence to be honest, because the car fully dropped on me in Free Practice so I had to really take margin in the first laps of Qualifying to make sure I understood what the car is doing,” he said.
“I think at the end of Qualifying I improved a lot in terms of confidence. I didn’t do a great lap, but it was good enough for top 10. I feel like today was not good, but we’ve made the best of a bad Marcus.
“The car is good, there’s no question about it. I know that the car is good, I’ve done a very average job (on Friday) and I’m still in the top 10. So I have no worries on that side. I just need to fix myself, focus and be on it.”