The Indian racer gains 29 positions in debut F3 weekend.
Kush Maini who is supported by JK Racing and Omega Seiki Mobility (OSM) showed impressive pace in his first Formula 3 qualifying session in Bahrain when he put together a lap of 1:46:322s. He was the fastest in sector one and missed pole by merely .073 of a second. Kush was called to the weighbridge in between the session which he missed before putting together his fastest lap. His car was however weighed at the end of his qualifying session. He was penalized for this small error and had to start from the pitlane for both the sprint race on Saturday and the feature race on Sunday.
Considering that Kush had not qualified in a single-seater car for over a year, his performance bodes well for the rest of the season. FIA Formula 3 races are held alongside Formula 1 on nine of the Formula 1 weekends. The series is highly competitive with 30 drivers from all over the world competing together on the road to Formula 1.
Speaking at the FIA Formula 3 conference after qualifying, Kush said, “I am honestly really pleased. I think Free Practice we were struggling a bit, so we just made a few tweaks to the balance, and it looked like it sorted itself out. Then I could do some consistent laps and I kept improving. Considering I haven’t done a single-seater qualifying in over a year, and coming in as a rookie, I’m pretty happy with third on the grid.”
Talking about his quick adaptation to the car, he further added, “Obviously, I missed the test because I had no idea until a couple of months ago I was even going to be in this Championship. Honestly, as a racing driver, you don’t really lose your instinct. With the help of my team, who have helped me every step of the way, and my teammates, who are a lot more experienced than me, I feel as good as I’ve ever felt.”
Kush showed his pace and overtaking skills in race 1 on Saturday by steadily passing 15 cars during the sprint race, further showing high potential for the season. He ended up P15 after starting from the pit lane with 30 cars taking part. In the feature race on Sunday which was influenced by quite a few safety and virtual car interventions, Kush was able to make up the 14 positions to finish P16.
Reflecting on the weekend, Kush said, “It’s not the greatest feeling to start in the pitlane in your first FIA F3 race, but I was determined to make the best of what I had. I took every opportunity to overtake where I could, and the goal was to make up as many positions during the races. I have come away with the satisfaction of gaining 29 positions over the weekend and the huge amount of experience from my 1st race weekend. I would like to thank MP Motorsports, Synergy Performance and Joey Foster for being there for me.”
Sander Dorsman, Team Principal of MP Motorsport also said, “It’s tough for Kush to start from the pitlane after putting an amazing lap together which would let him start from P3, in his first FIA F3 Qualifying session. However, looking at the positions he gained in both the Sprint Race and the Feature Race, I am certain Kush will grow and learn from this first race weekend and will finish in the points soon.”
The next round of the FIA Formula 3 weekend will be held alongside F1 in Imola between 22nd and 24th April 2022.