Christian Lundgaard may have missed all three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain, but it hasn’t taken the Dane long to get up to speed with Formula 2 and the new 18-inch tyres, taking a race win in just his third round at this level.
The ART Grand Prix driver was quarantined in a hotel in Spain with some of the Renault Academy lot during the testing stint, but you’d not have known that he missed out, with the rookie finishing within the top six in every race to date, culminating in his race win on Sunday in the Sprint.
The 18-year-old has been aided by the Championship’s switch to 18-inch tyres, which added an element of the unknown to even the most experienced of drivers on the grid.
“I would say that it's been better than expected,” he explained. “Last week I came into the first practice session not knowing where I was going to be.
“Considering that I've been in the points in all four races, and quite well placed, I am quite happy.
“Missing three days of testing didn’t help and last weekend was a learning process for me. The pace was there at the beginning, but I didn't really push enough in the races. Especially in the first laps.
“I learnt from that for this weekend. I think you could see today that I was a bit more aggressive in the beginning. That helped to secure the win.”
On a wet race on Saturday, Lundgaard initially looked set for a podium. Clearly revelling in the rain, Lundgaard sliced through the field in the early stages, only to go wide into the gravel trap and drop down to sixth, from fourth.
Rising from third in the Sprint, the ART ace wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, driving a measured race. Taking the lead on lap 2 from Dan Ticktum, he never looked in any danger of handing it back.
He explained: “Making the gap to Dan was important to break the DRS. After that I just tried to keep my pace. From my point of view the pace was very consistent.
“I was told by my engineer that he was catching up a bit, so then I pulled away a bit and just tried to keep the gap throughout the whole race really, and in the end just stay on track.”