FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the Press Conference of the top three for the FIA Formula 2 Championship Sprint Race here in Barcelona. In third place we have Juan Manuel Correa from DAMS Lucas Oil, in second we have Kush Maini from Invicta Racing and taking his first win of 2024 in Victor Martins from ART Grand Prix. Victor your second victory in Formula 2 and your first podium of the season, I get the feeling there might be some relief in that one?

Victor Martins: For sure I think that it feels good. You need to appreciate this moment, for the team, for myself, it gives confidence for the future. I think it shows that we are making progress. We have the two wins out of the last two races, of course this is a Sprint Race you always want to qualify in front, get the Pole and the victory in the Feature Race. But it does feel good to get some points, have a clean race and I think today we did all the things right and that is what we need for the future.

FIA Formula 2: You got a great start, did it feel all under control for you from that point?

Martins: I was fully in control from the start to the end. I knew that if I didn’t get into the lead going into Turn 1 it would not be an easy race because you still need to manage the tyres. It would be much easier than being behind a car. I think it was just good communication with the team, seeing Ritomo Miyata at the start he was pushing quite a lot behind me, and he dropped massively. It shows that I was in control, we have the pace for tomorrow and we can fight from there.

FIA Formula 2: It is back-to-back wins for ART with Zak O’Sullivan’s win in Monaco Feature race. Do you feel like these results can kick start your season as well?

Martins: For myself and the team it gives big confidence, it gives us energy to see the direction we have taken working out. It shows that we are making progress. I am not saying we are there yet, we are still far from where we want to be. But we can see that we have made some small steps, and we will be there consistently.

FIA Formula 2: Kush to you, second place after starting from Pole position, how do you reflect on the race?

Kush Maini: Well, I basically started fourth. I didn’t really move from the line. Considering that I think it was a good race. The pace was strong in the middle of the race. I manged to catch Miyata but there was no way past. Having said that I think that the car was amazing today. If I had gotten past then maybe I could have given Victor a harder time today. It wasn’t to be, I am still happy with second and the 8 points. But a bit annoyed that we let the win slip away.

FIA Formula 2: You mentioned catching Ritomo, did you know he had a time penalty for track limits and did that effect the way you took risks?

Maini: Initially I was pushing really hard to pass him because Victor was still not too far ahead. So maybe there was a possibility that if he got a penalty I was in the play. But towards the end it was too risky, and I knew that he had a penalty, so I just tried to save my tyres.

FIA Formula 2: Today is a third podium for you for this season, aside from that your results have been inconsistent. Is that just a case of how competitive Formula 2 is right now or are there other reason?

Maini: There are other reasons, but I am not going to get into it.

FIA Formula 2: Your first podium since returning to Formula 2 full time last year, how special does it feel?

Juan Manuel Correa: It’s nice. I am very happy. It’s been a while. It’s a bit of a relief but I think it is really kick starting our season. I have got to say I am very proud of the team, they have done a good step this weekend. We have been struggling a little bit with the Qualifying this season, but we have always had good pace in the races. This weekend both cars were in the Top 8 in Qualifying, so it is clear we are working in the right direction. Happy also, Barcelona is not really a track that I love, so to be here in my first podium I think it is a positive. The tracks coming up are the tracks I feel more comfortable at. I am really happy and if it wasn’t for the bad first few laps that I had in the race I think I could have challenged Victor if I had stayed P2. We will take it.

FIA Formula 2: You had to make that move stick on Gabriel Bortoleto, to get third place. How hard was it to time that move on the penultimate lap?

Correa: It was tough. It was a game of tyre management through the whole race. I knew I had more pace than him. The entire race I was basically in his gear box. I had Paul Aron behind me who was quite quick. So, it was just about managing that gap. It was always under control. However, I felt that Gabriel always kept a little bit in reserve in the last Sector just to make sure that I did not get him into Turn 1. Towards the last few laps, I realised that he started to struggle more and more in Sector 2. I realised if I was going to make the move it was going to be before the Main Straight because he was always getting the run out of the last corner. I think I took him by surprise, I was always takin a big margin in Turn 9. That lap I struggled a bit the corner before I pushed hard, and I managed to make it stick. It was a good move and not easy to make at that stage in the race with the tyres we had.

FIA Formula 2: Speaking of tyres, the race really seemed to ebb and flow especially in the first half but both DAMS Lucas Oil cars really finished strongly, does that bode well for tomorrow?

Correa: For sure, I think we have the pace, then passing cars is a different story. It is very easy to get stuck behind and overheat your tyres. We will have to have a think about the strategy tomorrow and try and get some clean air. For sure we will have to make some moves, but I think the car has the speed.

FIA Formula 2: Great stuff, thanks very much all.