Paul Aron was pleased that the improvements Hitech Pulse-Eight have made since pre-season testing are beginning to pay off after the Estonian racer came through the field to finish fifth in the Sakhir Sprint Race.

Aron lined up 12th on the grid but thanks to a strong start and steady progress throughout the encounter, he found himself battling for the points paying positions early on in the race.

After overtaking the Van Amersfoort Racing car driven by Enzo Fittipaldi to go up to fifth, he later lost the position to his fellow rookie Josep María Martí.

However, he was able to recover and overtake the ART Grand Prix driver Victor Martins with three laps to go before holding off Gabriel Bortoleto across the line to seal fifth place.

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“It was a lot of fun,” said Aron. “Big thanks to Hitech, I think we had a pretty good package and it’s been a great journey so far. We were a bit on the backfoot in testing, but the team has been pushing a lot, so I'm very, very thankful to them and also happy for myself.”

Reflecting on the race itself, Aron continued: “It was a great first race. I had a good start, then managed in the middle phase of the race, and then basically finished the race with nothing left.

“I think the package was good and the management was well done. I had a bit of a scare in the last few corners with Gabriel, but it's a good start, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”

Aron made a quick start and was quickly in the top-10 in the Sprint Race
Aron made a quick start and was quickly in the top-10 in the Sprint Race

With tyres playing a big part in Formula 2, especially around a Bahrain International Circuit that features very abrasive tarmac, tyre management was key throughout the race.

However, Aron revealed that he was managing multiple parts of the car which is why he made the decision not to fight the quicker Martí.

“I think it's more to do with the brakes,” Aron explained. “In F3, it was easy, you always had the brakes with you because they were steel brakes and you could manage it quite well with brake bias but in Formula 2, you need to take care of the brakes to keep them from getting too hot or too cold.

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“You need to manage glazing, overheating, so it’s not just about the tyres and I think those extra factors do play a big role. It was interesting but it all made sense to me in the race, and I automatically made the right decisions, so I'm happy for that.

“There was one big decision in the race when I was fighting with Martí. I decided that I better let him go and manage my race and I think that is what saved me because Campos were really quick today and if I would have tried to keep him behind, I wouldn’t have finished fifth.”

Aron talked through his management of the tyres and brakes during the Sprint Race
Aron talked through his management of the tyres and brakes during the Sprint Race

But attentions will quickly turn to the Feature Race on Saturday and with Aron having used the Option tyre during the Sprint dash, he says there are plenty of unknowns heading into the race, with the drivers now also set to run the harder compounds.

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“Tomorrow will be the first Feature Race of the season,” said Aron. “So, it’s difficult to expect anything and we will run the prime tyres as well so not exactly sure how we are going to be.

“But looking at today I think we can be very happy, at least on the options are pace was very good and I think generally the package we have is good or at least going in the right direction. Whatever happens tomorrow we will keep working and we will see where we end up.”