Casting his mind back to his karting days, Campos Racing rookie Kush Maini reflects on a race that taught him one very important lesson – no matter how bad a situation may start, never count yourself out.

Carving his way past his competitors around the Swedish circuit Kristiansand, the Indian racer reveals the story behind a memorable day and the way it shaped his mentality to go on to thrive on the Formula 2 grid.

“It was the 2015 European Karting Championship in Sweden at Kristiansand. I remember I had a really poor Qualifying, so it was not even a main race, it was just one of the heats. I was starting around 19th or 20th, somewhere towards the rear and obviously, the full grid in the European Championship was super competitive.

“I remember that the heats were short, they were only like eight laps. It was raining, but I had great speed, cut through the field and actually won the race at the last corner. Even though it was a heat, I think it really stood out to me because it just shows that in racing, no matter where you start or how it seems to be going, anything can happen. That’s one race that’s stuck with me until now.

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“Obviously being a wet race in karting, it is carnage, so I stayed out of trouble in the first few laps and then just started making moves. The pace felt great throughout and then before I knew it, it was the last lap. I was chasing P1 and made the move, it was a great feeling.

“Looking at my starting position an hour or two before the race, I’d never have thought that we’d be able to make up that much ground. For that race the starts aligned, so it was a great feeling to make the move, it was crazy!

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“That’s the time where you’re shaping the driver you are and for that to happen that early on, I think it’s a great boost of confidence, but also teaches you to never give up until the last moment in racing. I think that’s definitely stuck with me. It was just one of those crazy races and it just reminds me that anything can happen no matter how badly it seems things are going.

“In Spa for example, I obviously qualified last because I was on the wrong tyres. When I was caught in that situation, I looked back to actually some of these races in karting which I’ve had. They shape you very early on and sort of boost your confidence. You don’t feel hopeless, and you feel that there’s a bit of hope for the weekend and that extra bit of motivation can do wonders sometimes.

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“It was so long ago, I’m not sure there’s anything I do differently now, but I think the instincts as a racing driver remain the same. Wherever you start, you’re going to try to go as quick as possible and pass as many cars as you can, depending on where you start. In that way, not much has changed.

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“For sure, now if a race feels hopeless, looking back at some of these crazy races I’ve had, I can still keep a bit of hope in my pocket and a bit of motivation, even when everything seems to be going wrong.”