Trident scored their first Formula 2 podium in front of a home crowd at Monza after Bent Viscaal scored second in Sprint Race 2, and team manager Giacomo Ricci hailed the Dutchman’s performance as “really, really intelligent.”
Viscaal had reopened his account in the first race at Monza, rising from 18th to seventh to score points for just the second time this season. The result put him fourth on the grid for the second race and the Dutchman got a great getaway to jump Jüri Vips at the start, which put him in the provisional podium positions.
The result was all but confirmed with two laps to go as David Beckmann locked up at Turn 1 and was forced down the escape road, which allowed Viscaal to steal second.
“Finally, we are here,” said Ricci. “It was a really strong race from Bent (Viscaal) and our pace was very, very strong. We had a good start and from there we were calm and looked after our tyres. I have to say Bent was really, really intelligent. He had a chance at the end to pass Beckmann, who was struggling a bit with his tyres and got P2.
“Since the start of this season, we've shown some really good potential and have been competitive, but unfortunately some small mistakes have affected our performances.
“Apart from at Silverstone, where we were a little off the pace, I think that we’ve been strong everywhere, so it’s good to finally be able to put it on paper.”
Title contenders in Formula 3, Ricci labelled the result of Trident’s F2 team as “absolutely needed.” The Italians have been close to a podium on several occasions in the second tier, including at Baku earlier this season, when Viscaal took fourth in the second Sprint Race.
Arriving at their home event, Trident were hopeful of taking the next step, but things didn’t look promising in Qualifying, with Viscaal in 18th and Marino Sato 14th. A long night’s work followed, and Ricci was delighted to see it pay off.
“It is always a team effort,” he said. “Last year, we qualified fifth with Roy (Nissany), so I was optimistic for a better result here, but in Qualifying, things didn't look amazing.
“We changed the car a bit through the night to suit Bent's driving style and then since race 1 we’ve shown good pace, and this afternoon we put that on paper. We were here long (last night), but we're on the podium and that's the most important thing.
“We are really happy. We’ve been so competitive in Formula 3, regulars on the podium, so to achieve something similar in Formula 2 was absolutely needed.”
Celebrations will have to be put on hold with one more race to go in Monza, the grid lining up in their Qualifying positions for the Feature Race on Sunday morning.
“With the pace that we had today, I am optimistic, but let’s keep our feet on the ground,” said Ricci. “We'll work really hard. For sure this result gives us an extra boost to work the full night to be on it tomorrow. Starting from the back will be trickier, but I am convinced that we can recover positions.”