A third podium of the season may continue to allude Marcus Armstrong - who hasn’t featured on the rostrum since the second round of the season – but the ART Grand Prix driver says he is “learning heaps” in his rookie season in Formula 2.
Armstrong finished seventh in Saturday’s Feature Race at Sakhir to take his sixth points finish of the season, but was left feeling frustrated, having begun the day in third.
The Kiwi’s campaign had initially started strongly, with two podiums in his first four races, but a dip in form saw him go six rounds without picking up any points. He scored in both Mugello and Sochi, with a pair of P9s, but knows he still has work to do.
“For sure, I am learning a lot,” said Armstrong. “Every single race I am learning a lot. If I could go back in time and do today again, who knows what I could do.
“Even having done the tests here earlier in the year, coming back to a track that I have understood in the F2 car makes a hell of a difference. F2 is very much arrive and drive, without much preparation beforehand, so if I could do it again I think I would do a better job. I am learning heaps.”
Armstrong believes the difference could lie in his management of the 18-inch Pirellis, with the Kiwi often starting strongly before struggling with degradation later in the race. This was evident in the Feature Race, as he fought from third to second in the opening laps before dropping back towards the end.
“Personally, I think that the ‘option-prime’ strategy was the better choice today,” he said. “That helped Callum (Ilott) and Felipe (Drugovich) at the front - but they did a fantastic job. I think that P5 was on the table for us, but I made a few mistakes and we struggled towards the end when the tyres were on the edge.
“I think we could have done a better job had we been on the ‘option-prime’ strategy, but ultimately, that doesn’t change the fact that we need to fix our long-run tyre degradation issues.
“We need to do some homework tonight to improve later in the run, but we’re strong in the opening laps. I will try to continue to improve and the team are doing their best to improve as well.”