Despite taking a career best qualifying, MP Motorsport driver Clément Novalak has said that “there’s still a lot of work to do” ahead of this weekend’s Zandvoort races.
Finishing 10th in the Friday qualifying granted Novalak reverse grid pole, and after the session, the Frenchman expressed his delight with the result, but maintained there was progress to be made. Speaking to InsideF2, he stated the following:
“Well obviously I was confident that I think I could do a good job. Obviously it’s great to be on reverse grid pole, but if I still look at the gap to my teammate there is still a large chunk that I need to find – and so as much as it’s a relief to be able to say that I’m starting on pole and finally starting the sprint and the feature race in the points paying positions, there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Novalak has experience racing at Zandvoort, and touched upon this briefly, stating that he felt his prior experience was “a confidence boost” heading into practice, however stated that he did not know if it was a massive help.
Despite this, the Frenchman praised the atmosphere at the track, especially the enthusiasm of the fans:
“This is probably the vibey-est track that I’ve been to in my career, in the sense that it last year I thought I was in a in a sort of football stadium for about 48 hours. It hasn’t even started yet, but I bet you tomorrow during [Formula 1] qualifying, everybody’s going to be going crazy in the grandstands, so for sure the atmosphere is insane.
“I’m not gonna boast but if you look at the grandstands there are a lot of MP fans here so, sort of very pleased by the turnout of our fanbase, you know what I mean… they’re probably Max fans! But they’re in orange so we’re going to take it as our own!”
For MP Motorsport, this is the first time Formula 2 has had a home event, with Zandvoort debuting this year. Aiming to do the team proud on home soil, Novalak stated the following:
“A lot of the guys – that, you know obviously aren’t even from the Netherlands – are based here so they feel it like it’s also their home race and yeah, I think having me myself starting on pole tomorrow and Felipe on Sunday, we can hope for the best and try to bring back a couple of trophies for them, it would be a solid result.”
When asked about how he’ll handle the race, the Frenchman admitted the secret was to “relax a little bit and just hope to not not hit a cliff on the tyres and stay where we are”, also adding that “track position here is going to be mightily important and overtaking very tough.”
Speaking about the win, there was only one answer Novalak could give: “Hopefully!” – the Frenchman backing up this intent by exclaiming “I’ll do my best to try and win it.”
The Sprint Race starts at 17:00 GMT+2 on Saturday, where Novalak will race from pole position, chasing his first podium. The next day, the Feature Race starts at 10:20 GMT+2, where the Frenchman will be aiming to pick up more points.