After a frustrating Friday evening Qualifying for Enzo Fittipaldi, he and Rodin Carlin made the best of their situation in the Sprint Race. Starting down in P13, the path to points wouldn’t be easy, but the Brazilian driver managed to claim the final scoring position in eighth.
Staying out of trouble and keeping his rookie teammate Zane Maloney at bay, Fittipaldi was pleased to have salvaged something from the day. The Brazilian believes that the result is a fairer demonstration of the true pace of the #4 Rodin Carlin car.
“I’m happy because we had a lot more in it yesterday in Qualifying, just didn’t go our way,” he reflected after the race. “I’m happy that today we were able to show where we’re supposed to be and that’s fighting at the front. It was a great recovery, we had great pace throughout the whole race, so I’m very much looking forward to the Feature Race.”
Despite slightly cooler late afternoon temperatures, tyre management was the underlying factor impacting the race. With the majority of the drivers attempting to stretch their soft tyres the full 23-lap distance around the Bahrain International Circuit, several found their rubber tailing off sharply towards the end.
Although his red-walled tyres had seen better days by the chequered flag, the Red Bull junior relished the challenge and the opportunity to test all he’s learnt after his rookie campaign last year.
“It was very difficult, but for me I was able to manage it very well and we had good pace throughout the whole race. Bahrain is a fun track because of this, I think it really tests the drivers’ ability of managing tyres.”
Those experienced drivers, like Fittipaldi, seemed best placed to adapt to the demands of the Sprint, with six of the eight points finishers having at least one season under their belts.
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Looking ahead to Sunday’s Feature Race, it’s likely that a similar story could unfold. Whilst he’ll be starting outside the top 10 once again, Fittipaldi recognises that there’s no shortage of overtaking opportunities around the 5.412km circuit.
Considering that strategies and the conditions are likely to shake up the order once again, he believes all bets are off in the fight for the top three. Considering the promising race pace Rodin Carlin have shown, Fittipaldi’s aiming to recreate another one of his storming drives through the field that became the signature of his success last year.
“Really anything’s possible. I think Bahrain is a track where if you have good pace, you’re going to make overtakes. It’s a track where you can overtake so I’m starting 13th. I’ve done it many times before going to the podium, why not again tomorrow? We’ll see.”