Kush Maini proved that while he might have been down after a frustrating visit to Barcelona last time out, the Campos Racing driver was far from out as he secured his best Qualifying result of the year in fourth.

Maini looks to have regained his form right away in Spielberg, rebounding with a mature and measured performance. Despite his personal best Qualifying result, he still believes that more pace was left on the table.

“In Free Practice we were P6 and I didn’t feel good on the brakes. The team knew the problem and so going into Quali, we were really confident that everything was going to come together and it did. The car felt great to drive. I didn't necessarily put my lap together, but I think today our potential was good enough to fight for the front row. We'll take confidence from that.

“I think our race pace is good as well and has been good. So, I think it's all to play for this weekend. I'm just super happy that we're in the ballpark now in the top five and we're fighting for podiums, that's great.”

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Whilst most of the field lost attempts to track limits at one point or another, Maini ensured that his #24 Campos car remained well within the white lines. A self-admittedly contrasting experience this year versus last season in Formula 3, the Indian driver noted how striking the right balance between pushing and sacrificing paid off.

“The crazy thing is that this weekend I didn’t do one track limit. Last year in F3, I was doing track limits every lap, but I think I realised how important it was to stay on track and maybe to give up half a tenth. Every lap you stay in takes the pressure off and we did that – no track limits, so that wasn’t even a thing for us. For sure, we’re going to build on that because it’s going to be a key factor in the race as well.”

Deeming his point-less finishes in a blip in what has otherwise proven to be remarkably consistent and impressive rookie campaign so far, Maini’s resilience has only strengthened his and his team’s determination to extract the most from their partnership.

READ MORE: QUALIFYING: Martins runs the show from start to finish in Spielberg

Having been up there in the mix throughout Qualifying around the Red Bull Ring, he puts the difference in performance down to one thing – the tyres. Tyre management abilities naturally come with experience and remain one of the biggest hurdles for any driver to overcome. Yet Maini sees the challenges positively as an opportunity to develop himself further and an area to find more performance.

“Barcelona for me was a one-off and we're back to where we should be. This is great for the team; their spirits are really high. This is what we needed after a bad race. We can show that we come back strong and this is what I was trained to do my whole life because I’ve had so many bad weekends, but it’s great to be back.”

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He added: “I just think tyres are very sensitive and when you're in the window, you have great grip and when you're not, you don't. Sometimes the balance actually can feel fine and nothing feels wrong and then, you've just missed the window completely with the warmup and you're nowhere.

“I think a bit of that happened in Barcelona because even on the first set in Barcelona, I was in the top four and then I fell down. It's very important to get your warmup right and it's great training for the future as well that they’re so sensitive because you really have to think.”

Casting his eye towards both races, Maini knows he’s put himself in a prime position for a solid haul of points. Whilst the chance of rain threatens Saturday’s Sprint Race, he’s intrigued by the possibility of a wet race shaking things up.

Hoping for a more straightforward Sunday, he is assured that if he can put all the pieces together in the Feature Race, a shot at a top three spot could be on the cards.

“To be honest, I don’t mind about the weather. Maybe we can have some fun in the rain tomorrow because we are starting P7 and then Sunday, whatever comes will come. We’ll just keep it clean like we have all year and I'm sure our pace will make us fight for the podium.”