Louis Deletraz’s gamble to start the Sakhir Sprint Race on the mediums didn’t immediately look like it was going to pay off, with the Charouz racer struggling for grip as early as the second lap. That was before a Safety Car on Lap 7 allowed him the perfect opportunity to switch for fresh rubber and surge through the pack for an unlikely podium.
Not even the Swiss driver expected to make it as far as third place, having begun the day all the way back in P16. Given he had just 15 laps to make up the positions, after his stop, he feels like he could have gone even further had the race lasted longer.
“It was really fun,” he elated. “Our gamble on the mediums didn’t pay off, but we kept going and going and pushing. We did the pit stop and the pace was extremely good. Overall, I think the team did a great job and it shows that if you work hard and make the right calculations, you can make it.
“I didn’t think a podium was on the cards, I just thought let’s push and see where we end up. I was P12 and saw that I was getting closer and closer, I got to P8 and thought, ‘right, now it’s going to get tricky.’ But then, Seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth and even third! I wish there were more laps.”
Deletraz’s gain was unfortunately Pedro Piquet’s loss, as the Brazilian racer retired from third place in the final laps, due to mechanical issues. This handed Deletraz a podium place from fourth, but robbed the pair of the opportunity to battle on-track.
The 23-year-old felt for his more inexperienced teammate, saying that he went straight to the Brazilian after the race to both console him and reassure him of the job he’d done.
“It was the first thing I did when I came back,” he said. “He hasn’t had the easiest season, but people don’t see the work that he’s doing. He is a really good driver and he’s really helping the team a lot in terms of car balance and feedback.
“I was really happy to see him up there. I was passing cars and didn’t see him. I was going through the field like ‘that isn't Pedro, that isn't Pedro, where is he?’ And then I saw that he was third.
“I obviously wanted that position, but I was happy to see him there and he has proven that he can make it. He is really helping the team and he’s a really great teammate to have.”