On a day when the Championship leader, Callum Ilott, could only Qualify in P12 for the Feature Race, his main title rival Robert Shwarztman clinched fourth, and with it, the opportunity to leapfrog his fellow Ferrari junior in the race for the F2 crown.
While the PREMA racer is certainly pleased with his starting position in Spa, he lamented a couple of minor mistakes – without which, he reckons he could have taken pole.
Shwartzman took first in Free Practice earlier on the Friday, so knows he has the pace this weekend, and will be looking to make up the positions in the Feature Race.
“It is a positive position, especially here at Spa,” he explained. “We can fight in the race here for sure. We had a really good Free Practice, and a quite good Quali, but I was hoping for a bit of a better result, because I think we could have managed pole. Looking at the data, I made a few mistakes which cost us some time.
“The beginning was very messy as well, with track position, tyre management and warm-up, so it didn’t really give me much confidence. I only had just one push lap - that was basically the only proper push lap I had.
“That affected my confidence with the tyres, especially in the first part of that lap, but it’s something to learn. I need to have that belief in the tyres in the future - that experience that tells you that they’re going to be there.
“P4 is not bad though, as I said. The race will be very important. I don’t know if it will be wet or dry, but we’re going to do our best to deliver.”
With Ilott Qualifying outside of the top three for the first time this season, the Championship lead is at stake in the Feature Race.
It’s the first time this season that Shwartzman has started ahead of the UNI-Virtuosi racer on a Saturday, but the Russian says he isn’t paying any attention to it. He’s just focused on getting his own job done.
“In any race, it is important to get points,” he explained. “I don’t look at where Callum is. My target is to have a really good start, and then a really good race
“Hopefully we can do a really good job and get a lot of points. After that, I can think about coming back in the Championship, but that’s not my main thought, I am not thinking a lot about it.
“I am focused on doing a good job in the race, and thinking about what we need to do to prepare the balance and the tyres.”