After making up eight places to finish ninth on Sunday, Marcus Armstrong was once again pleased with his race pace, but the DAMS’ driver conceded that the team still have plenty of work to do on their Qualifying performance.
Armstrong also made up seven places in the first Sprint Race, but only came away from Monza with two points to show for his efforts, having qualified in 17th. It’s been a regular trend throughout 2021, with the Kiwi qualifying in the top 10 just once this year, but consistently going forward in races.
“We have got to sort the Fridays out, that's the thing,” said Armstrong. “We started on the backfoot because we didn't get to run in Free Practice and going into Qualifying blind is never ideal.
"Saying that, Monza is a track where I have always been mega quick. I know this track like the back of my hand, so it’s a shame that we couldn't have done something better.
“It is always nice to be fighting through towards the end when the others are struggling with their tyres and I probably would have gotten another few cars in the Feature Race had there not been a (fourth) Safety Car at the end, but it is what it is, and we at least got two points. My teammate was also in the points (Roy Nissany finished eighth), so that's a bit of a morale boost for the blue squad.”
It isn’t only Armstrong who has struggled on Fridays this season, as Nissany has also only featured in the top 10 twice in Qualifying and started Sprint Race 1 and the Feature Race from 15th.
Heading to Sochi for Round 6 of 8, Armstrong highlighted a few key areas for the team to work on in the next two weeks.
“We need to be a bit more aggressive on balance and not be so afraid of burning out tyres because they’re actually lasting better than what we’ve all expected,” said Armstrong. “We need to get more performance and hopefully in turn that will give me a bit more confidence to attack.
“I know that Sochi is also a strong track for me - I won there in Formula 3, and we were super quick there. I have confidence to do the job on the Friday. It’s just a matter of having the right car underneath me at the moment."