David Vidales was a man on a mission during round seven of action at Spa-Francorchamps. After an interrupted qualifying session saw him stuck in 18th on the grid, the Campos Racing driver outpaced cars left, right and center to take home a solid run of points in both races.
After finishing seventh in the Sprint Race, Vidales matched his speed in Sunday’s Feature Race to once again secure seventh, which ended up being eighth after a post-race penalty for going off track and gaining a lead.
However, the Spanish rookie was delighted to have shown what he is capable of, despite struggling for straight line speed along the Belgian circuit’s powerful DRS straights.
“I think it was amazing, the car was mega today. We had a very strong pace and we overtook all the cars on the track. We made a good start, already on the first lap I think I made up five or six positions and then the pace was really strong.
“Straight line speed wasn’t surprising, it was actually pretty bad, but we still managed to make up positions on a track where straight line speed is really important. That shows what a great car we had, especially in Sector 2 where the corners are, and we were very strong there. Happy to make the most of every chance I had along the way and get points, which was the goal.”
Losing in the interrupted qualifying session, Vidales believes Campos might have had a chance to contend further up the field in the top 10 were it not for traffic on his fastest attempt. However, he reckons this weekend’s strong performance gives his team a solid foundation to build on during the season-ending tripleheader.
“In qualifying we were quite unlucky because the last lap was the only one we could do as the track conditions improved and we got stuck in traffic which lost us a second. Without the traffic we probably would have started in the top six, but those are things we can’t control. Then we had to focus on the races and try to do our best and I think that’s what we did.
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“In both races we overtook 11 drivers and we got points in both races and in the first race, we also had used tyres. I think we made the most of all the opportunities we had and that is very important. Also, for the three weekends in a row, having a good pace in the first one helps the team to be motivated and continue learning and growing for the next weekend.”
As Formula 3 heads to Zandvoort for the penultimate round of the season, Vidales is excited by the prospect of returning to a track where he finished on the podium two years ago in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Given the speed Campos showed over the weekend, he is optimistic about doing the same this weekend, hoping to return to the grandstand for the first time since his Barcelona Sprint Race win.
“The race pace is there, we just have to do a good qualifying. The pace is also there in qualifying, we just have to not find any red flags or anything like that. It’s not an excuse, we have to do a good lap and with the car we have we can be on the podium”.