Campos Racing’s Kush Maini was second fastest in Formula 2 qualifying at Silverstone, but it was not until late in the session that the team found pole-threatening pace.
In practice Maini had been a second off the pace and down in 19th place, with team-mate Ralph Boschung in 15th, and the team then set to work on being able to extract more from Pirelli’s soft compound tyre for qualifying.
Maini got up to sixth place prior to an early red flag stoppage, and then late on he improved to get within 0.113 seconds of pole and put himself on the front row for Sunday’s feature race. The best qualifying result of his F2 career did not come easy.
“It was a very close session. In Austria last week I qualified fourth, and honestly that felt like a better lap than today,” said Maini afterwards.
“I really love this place. In my junior career, I’ve come up through British championships, so I’ve got a good amount of mileage on this track, so it seems to suit me.
“So I was very confident going into the weekend and then free practice threw a massive spanner in the works. And honestly, we were scratching our heads. So I’m super, super happy that the team brought it back and we were fighting for pole, so I’ll definitely take that.”
“I was P6 with the first [run] and really not happy with the balance,” he continued. “So I came in, made a small change, and it seemed to iron out a few of the issues. It wasn’t the cleanest lap. But I’m happy that I completed it because it was tricky out there with the wind etc.”
The next question is whether Campos’s race package is strong enough for Maini to convert second on the grid into a first feature race podium.
“Austria we had great one-lap pace, and just struggled in the races. We had a good start to the season, but I think our main focus should be the race trim because I feel in quali we have a car to compete for pole,” Maini reckoned. “This weekend we’re starting on the front row, so it’s the perfect place to put our stuff together and then hopefully go for the win.”
He added: “Getting into the rhythm and keeping the car feeling well balanced through the races has been difficult for us. But I have a great team around me and we’re working super hard out of the track as well to sort it out. Because the big points are obviously in the races and I think we may have found something.”