Frederik Vesti is optimistic about his chances of taking his first Formula 2 pole position after getting to grips with the Baku City Circuit. Free Practice was his first chance to sample the ultra fast track but the Dane was pleased with his work during the opening session of the weekend.
Reflecting on Free Practice, Vesti said that while there was more time to find, he was happy with how things had started and that he knew where there would be time on the table come Qualifying.
“It was a really good session. I think since I signed the F2 contract, Baku was one of the tracks I was looking most forward to," he said. I’ve done a lot of driving and simulator work at home, and you go in with a happy face in Baku. It’s helped me to push and I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes.
“I need to keep pushing. In FP, we found the limits in a few corners and there are a few other corners where there’s still time to be found. In Quali, I just want to maximise the first run and give myself the best opportunity to go for pole in the second run.”
After seeing the track for the first time on Thursday, Vesti admitted he was expecting the experience to be frightnening when he stepped into the car.
His P5 time of a 1:56.532 though indicated those worries were put to bed. The ART Grand Prix driver said he was looking forward to the challenge of the unique circuit.
“I was walking it on Thursday and the castle section around Turn 9, it was really uphill. I think it’s more than Monaco going from Turn 1 to 3. Driving the car I forgot completely it was going up and down. I think it was a lot less scary driving the car than it was doing the track walk, which is a positive."
While he was happy with his initial efforts in Practice, Vesti is expecting a tough time in Qualifying, with the track evolution playing a critical role in this weekend's fight for the fastest time.
The first laps were unspectacular as drivers eased into the weekend around a track that was dusty and littered with leaves. He added that the amount of wind was effecting the drivers throughout the lap.
"I could feel my helmet move with the gusts of wind. I didn’t feel it so much while I was driving and pushing the car but there’s no doubt that some of the drivers probably got caught out mid-corner if a gust touched their car. Going down the straight, the head is moving around a lot.
"The first laps we did, there were leaves from the trees around everywhere. I saw a lot of plastic and a lot of dust being kicked up from the tyres but at the end of the session I didn’t notice any of that anymore. I think most of it has been gotten rid of. Formula 1 will drive before Quali so they’ll do a lot of laps and I think it will be quite a big step for Qualifying.”