Taking seventh, Trident’s Bent Viscaal clinched only his second Formula 2 points’ finish in Sprint Race 1 at Monza and hailed the efforts of his team, who worked overnight to “completely change the car” following some issues in Qualifying.

The Dutchman made up 11 places from 18th after a difficult Friday afternoon session, surviving a chaotic opening race that saw several incidents and a major reshuffle of the top 10.

Viscaal said that he was delighted to have put on the performance at Trident’s home event.

“It was very exciting,” said Viscaal. “In Qualifying, I was not happy with the performance. I don't think we were as fast as we were in Bahrain or Baku. We worked hard overnight to find the problem and completely changed the car, and it seems to have helped.

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Viscaal charged from 18th to seventh in the first Sprint Race
Viscaal charged from 18th to seventh in the first Sprint Race

“The start was very good but then at Turn 1, I had to avoid all of the mess, so I went wide and had to re-join the pack from the back. From there on, with everybody going off and spinning, and a few overtakes, I found out that I was in P12.

“After the start that I had, that was unbelievable - I couldn't quite believe it. We had a very good car; it was a lot better than Qualifying, and I was able to overtake quite a few cars. We finished in P7 and I’m really happy with the result. And it’s a home race for Trident, plus I've seen quite a lot of Dutch fans as well, so I feel quite at home.”

Both Viscaal and his more experienced teammate, Marino Sato, have struggled to score points consistently this season, but the Dutchman feels that the standings aren’t a true representation of the team’s pace.

“It’s been a bit of a frustrating one,” Viscaal continued. “We’ve had the pace since Bahrain and it’s only really in Silverstone where we’ve been way off the pace, and that’s something that we’ve accepted and worked on.

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Viscaal speaking with former F3 teammate Hughes after the race
Viscaal speaking with former F3 teammate Hughes after the race

“It’s been an up and down season and we still need to make some progress, but this is a very competitive field, so once you’re off the pace for a second, you’re instantly very far behind. I think that given where we've come from as a team, and the progress that we’ve made, we can be very happy.”

Starting the second Sprint Race from the second row, in fourth, Viscaal is confident he can do their hard work justice.

“For sure, it’s going to be an exciting race again,” he added. “The second race isn't going to be boring. We’ll be focused on having a good start and then we’ll just try and be clean and not end up in the mess. From there, we will see where we end up. I’m quite confident that we have the speed.”