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Marti focused on Bearman to keep podium amid front wing damage

by Ida Wood

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti finished second in Formula 2’s Red Bull Ring sprint race despite breaking his front wing on the opening lap.

Marti started third, behind Virtuosi Racing’s Kush Maini and Prema’s Ollie Bearman on the reversed grid. Bearman took the lead off the line, and Marti went to the inside of Maini at turn one. They stayed wheel-to-wheel exiting the corner, leading to Maini going off.

When he rejoined the track he stayed on the left of Marti heading to turn two, while AIX Racing’s Taylor Barnard used Marti’s slipstream then went to the right of him as they went through the uphill kink. After the trio went three-wide, Marti came off the throttle early to avoid being stuck between them entering the sharp right-hander of turn three, but he still ended up breaking the left endplate off his front wing on the rear-right of Maini’s car.

That led to Maini missing the corner, and Barnard also went off at the exit. They rejoined behind Marti, who managed to hold on to second place for the rest of the race.

“I am not sure how much performance I lost due to that. It definitely felt different from one side to another cornering,” Marti said of the damage.

“I remember it was like lap three, DRS opening, and Kush was really close behind. He was full push for five to 10 laps. I decided the best thing to do to protect myself was to try and catch Ollie. So I had to use my tyres a bit more than I would have liked, which I think also maybe cost us a chance to victory today.”

He added “we have to be optimistic” about a strong result in the feature race, which he will start from eighth place.

“I think we can go forward; the pace is pretty strong. Then again Sunday is a different race, you have a pitstop. I think after today, seeing how the race went down, the mentality of people is going to change a lot and tomorrow will be a completely different race. We will see how it goes down, I am hoping for a good start and hopefully no more damage in lap one.”

And if he avoids damage, Marti “will have a better idea” of how much breaking his wing impacted his sprint race pace.

“I had a lot of difference in balance between [turns] six, seven and then nine [and] 10, for example. So I think there was a good percentage of change between left and right. For sure, there was quite a bit of the front wing damage coming from it.”