Bortoleto Happy After Maiden F2 Podium in Imola

Bortoleto Happy After Maiden F2 Podium in Imola

Formula Championship Round Imola Practice & Qualifying

Invicta Racing’s Gabriel Bortoleto has declared himself ‘very happy’ with his weekend in Imola where he made his first appearance on an FIA Formula 2 podium.

The Brazilian had claimed pole for F2’s fourth round of the season, but a sluggish start dropped him to fourth on the opening lap.

And despite piling the pressure onto eventual winner Isack Hadjar, the McLaren Junior Driver was unable to regain the top spot. 

“The pace was mega, so it was a great job by the team,” the 19-year-old said.

He added: “It was a tough race with Hadjar, he is a fast driver so it was not easy to overtake him. There are still some things we need to analyse, such as the starts.”

Bortoleto has two pole positions in 2024, in Bahrain and at Imola, but has made poor starts on both occasions, losing multiple positions at the start of the respective Feature Races.

However, he has shown great powers of recovery to score points in both races.

Special weekend brings best results so far

Imola was the Brazilian’s most successful weekend of the season so far, scoring his first F2 podium, which coincided with many moments of reflection on one of Brazil’s finest sportsmen ever, Ayrton Senna.

“We will keep pushing in this direction and aim to be in the mix in Monaco next weekend,” he said.

The race weekend in Imola marked 30 years since the three-time F1 World Champion died at the circuit in 1994 – and Bortoleto wore a Senna-inspired tribute helmet for the weekend.

The teenager’s performance has seen him rise to fifth in the Drivers’ Standings with 38 points, 30 behind pace-setter Zane Maloney of Rodin Motorsport.

Maini rues poor qualifying

Indian driver Kush Maini had spent much of the opening three rounds among the front-runners, but the 23-year-old was absent from the leading pack in Imola.

He blamed a poor qualifying performance on Friday, saying it ‘ruined’ his weekend as he started both races 17th.

“There was not really anything we could do today [Sunday] as it is so hard to overtake around here,” the Alpine Academy driver said.

Maini’s Feature Race saw the bizarre circumstance of him being handed a penalty which was later rescinded.

He said they could have done things differently had the team known about that sooner: “Had we been aware that the penalty was being taken away earlier, we could have been able to factor that into when we pitted and maybe finished in the points.”

Despite his disappointing weekend, the Indian is confident of returning to form in Monaco.

“We have a short turnaround to Monaco now, which is good. It is the first weekend where we struggled, but I am sure that in Monaco we will bounce back.”

Team Boss Roche confident of victory in the future

Invicta Racing Team Principal Andy Roche says the teams first win of the season is just around the corner.

“Gabi lost the race at the start today, which was unfortunate. We were quick enough, and had he got off the line well we could have won. If we had a little bit more in the car, he could have had more of a go at Hadjar at the end.

“He did a fantastic job of getting where he got to after that start and we are really quite pleased.

It was always going to be very difficult for Kush from his starting position, because it is so hard to overtake here, but he will bounce back from this weekend.

The win for the team is coming, that’s for sure.”

 

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