Kush Maini on “rollercoaster” F2 Weekend in Bahrain

Kush Maini on “rollercoaster” F2 Weekend in Bahrain

Kush Maini Invicta Racing Alpine F2 Formula 2 Bahrain

Indian FIA Formula 2 driver Kush Maini says he has a good base to build from after what he described as a ‘rollercoaster’ weekend in Bahrain.

The Invicta Racing driver finished seventh in Saturday’s Feature Race, having started at the back of the grid.

The Alpine Academy member started both races last despite taking pole position on Thursday, after being disqualified from the session thanks to part of his car breaching technical rules.

His team mate, and F2 debutant, Gabriel Bortoleto finished fifth on Saturday, having inherited pole position from Maini.

But a poor start and a ten-second penalty for causing a collision with Campos’ Isack Hadjar saw his hopes of victory fade quickly.

Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney won the Feature Race, adding to his Sprint Race victory on Friday.


Maini upbeat despite Bahrain highs and lows

Despite starting at the back, Maini was still full of praise for his team.

“I believe we deserved pole on Thursday,” the 23-year-old said, adding: “The team gave me a great car and I did a quick lap but unfortunately we got shuffled to the back of the grid.”

Maini ran longer than most people in Saturday’s race, having started on the harder of the two available Pirelli tyre compounds.

The Indian was able to pit during the race’s second safety car period on Lap 19, meaning he was right behind many of his rivals on older tyres while he had the faster soft tyres fitted.

This allowed Maini to fight through to seventh place, scoring six points.

“It is still bittersweet, and I feel we had a good baseline [with the car],” he said, adding that his race would have been different had he started from the front.

Bortoleto apologises to Hadjar for collision

Maini’s team mate, Bortoleto, is the reigning FIA Formula 3 champion and scored points in both races in Bahrain.

The Brazilian said his debut race was ‘fun’ on the way a sixth-place finish in the Sprint Race.

But Bortoleto described his Feature Race as ‘not the easiest end to the weekend’ after the Turn 1 contact with Hadjar, which left him with damage to his front wing.

“I did a mistake in the first corner, which was not ideal, and sorry to Isack [Hadjar] for that.”

The McLaren Driver Development Programme member lost several positions in quick succession as he took a few laps to regroup and settle into the race.

He said fighting back to regain positions was enjoyable though.

“Recovering the lost positions on track was nice, with some great moves we showed we had the pace to go forward.”

While the 19-year-old said there were positives to take from the weekend, he admitted he failed to maximise points for the team in Bahrain.

Invicta Racing Team Principal, Andy Roche, said he’s pleased with the performance of the team and his drivers showed in Bahrain.

“Kush’s race was fantastic today; the way he came through from the back of the grid was great and the strategy worked out really well for him.

“Gabriel did not have an ideal start, but his pace was very good and without the 10-second penalty he would have been right up there towards the very front of the field.

“I am quite happy with the performance from the whole team this weekend as a basis for the coming events at Jeddah and Melbourne where we will aim to maximise the team result.”

The team leave Bahrain third in the Teams’ Championship, with Bortoleto fourth and Maini eighth in the Drivers’ Championship.

Image: Invicta Racing

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Kush Maini Invicta Racing Alpine F2 Formula 2 Bahrain