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Antonelli: Maiden win “a big relief” after challenging start in F2

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Andrea Kimi Antonelli was relieved to claim his maiden Formula 2 victory in the sprint race at Silverstone after a difficult first half to his rookie season.

With Prema struggling for pace amid the introduction of the new F2 car, the first steps in the series for Mercedes junior Antonelli — who is under consideration for a Formula 1 seat in 2025 — have not lived up to the high expectations. Fourth place was his previous best result, and he is now eighth in the standings with 59 points to his name.

“Definitely it was needed with not the ideal start of the season,” he told media including Formula Scout after dominating the wet sprint race. “We’ve been improving a lot throughout the season. I have to say on my side in the last couple of weekends I haven’t done the greatest of the jobs. But really happy to get my first win.

“Every win means a lot for a driver. Definitely a bit of a special one because it was my first one, first of all. Also it’s a track I really like, and the conditions were difficult, so that makes it a special one. And the next goal is to try and win on dry conditions.”

The Italian admitted to having been “under a lot of pressure this year” and “not always I coped well with pressure”.

“Sometimes I still do some mistakes. For example, yesterday in quali I did a mistake in my lap and lost quite a bit of time. So definitely sometimes I still don’t perform as I could. But I’m trying every time to cope as best as I can with the pressure. And I think today was really the showcase and actually it’s a big relief for me. Because it really eases a lot of weight off my shoulders.

At the start of the season we were struggling. I was trying just to work on myself. It was not easy. I mean, the step I did was pretty big skipping F3, a lot of information, start procedures, tyre management. Also we were struggling a little bit, so that didn’t really help.

“But I always tried to do my best. And I have to say in the first part of the season I was improving pretty well. Then at the last couple of rounds where I wasn’t really performing well because I did a few mistakes despite the car getting better. So on the last two weekends, I didn’t really perform, I would say. But this weekend the car is feeling pretty good. Even on the dry yesterday, it felt pretty good.”

Antonelli acknowledged Prema had made “a big step forward” in race pace at the Red Bull Ring. In addition, winning on a wet track “will help me a lot because I understand a lot also about the car” and explained that at the multiple restarts “I was trying to change every time just trying to surprise my opponent.”