It was a lap that ordinarily would have put him inside the top three but for Isack Hadjar, being two-tenths from pole left him P9 in Qualifying around Silverstone. While the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver was frustrated to not be further up, his best Friday result since P3 in Melbourne was a good showing around such a demanding track.

Immediately after the Qualifying half hour, he was happy to have earned another top 10 start after missing out in previous rounds despite having the pace to contend up front. Coming through a tricky session unscathed was also a big boost after fortunes didn’t go his way at other races also.

“It felt like average F2 Qualifying session, always something happening. My engineers told me it was a messy one, but it felt like normal to me. When I found out I was ninth and just a tenth and a half away from pole, I was really upset.

“Confidence was quite low because I didn’t get as many laps in as I needed to in Practice. That meant I lost a bit the confidence in the high-speed sections, and you could see that on my first Qualifying run where I was like 16th and a second off. So on that second run, I really had to find something. I’ve never experienced pushing that much in the high-speed, it's a really demanding track.”

Pushing as hard as he did, to have ended up ninth was something he was not expecting. The Hitech driver admitted that he started on the back foot and played catch-up through the Qualifying session. To have cut the gap down to just two-tenths from pole was a plus point having wrung everything he could out of the car. The unexpectedly tight results were the biggest cause for frustration though.

“I just felt on the first run, there was some margin in that. On the second one, the tyres were giving up, but I was improving so much myself that I managed to improve the lap. So I felt like if I’d managed to maximise that first push lap, I might have had enough for pole.

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“Silverstone is not that type of track where Qualifying is supposed to be one of the closest ones. You can usually put some serious gaps to people but today’s Qualifying was one of the tightest sessions I’ve ever done. If you told me earlier today that I’d end up two-tenths from pole, I’d have said I was starting in the top three.”

With time to reflect on such a close session, Hadjar says he can feel good about his chances going into the Sprint and Feature Races, especially closer to the front on Saturday.

READ MORE: QUALIFYING: Martins takes back-to-back pole positions

He has made numerous comeback drives from further down the order so far this season, so being inside the top 10 in both races makes his job easier. He also has Sprint Race-winning experience having won last year during the 2022 Formula 3 campaign. A repeat is not out of the question according to Hadjar.

“The car has been really good, the high-speed was just insane. I’m really happy with the car, I just feel like I can only improve on the driving side so there's even more to play with this year. Firstly because I'm starting at the front for tomorrow. I won from fourth here last year and with some good race pace, we can hope for good results.

“In the Feature Race, anything can happen. Starting from ninth – we’ve already scored points starting from further back this year so I feel like starting from P9, I can definitely have a strong result.

“I’ve felt like there has always been potential this year. In Baku, I was dominating Free Practice and early in in Qualifying, I hit the wall and had some damage. So that was it for me and I felt like I could have been on pole but I started last in the race and managed to finish eighth. So that felt like wasted pace and potential. In Monaco, I was leading the Sprint Race before I had to retire so there’s always been some serious pace but I just couldn't put it all together. So a Qualifying like this feels good.

“The race will be interesting. It should be dry for us from what I've been told, but we never know here with the British weather, so we’ll see. I don't mind a wet race or a dry one."