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Mini “can’t predict” if Monaco form can be continued in F3

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Gabriele Mini dominated Formula 3’s Monaco debut but knows there is work to do to close the gap to championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto.

After topping Thursday’s rain-affected practice session, the Alpine Academy driver claimed pole position after being quickest by 0.874 seconds in his qualifying group, and went on to win the feature race after resisting pressure from Dino Beganovic.

“It was a really good weekend,” said the Hitech GP driver. “Especially doing it in Monaco in this way, doing a really good lap in qualifying, being quick from free practice already and getting also the fastest lap [in the feature race].

“It’s amazing, it’s really special so I’m just really grateful to the team for the car they gave me and it was a really good race.

“It’s never the nicest feeling when you have someone really close in the mirror. But everything was under control. I was just trying to not destroy the tyres since I had to push really hard to get the fastest lap at the beginning.”

Maximum points on Sunday allowed Mini to close to within 17 points of Bortoleto, who had a relatively quiet weekend that culminated in fifth place in the feature race.

“It gives you a lot of confidence, but to be honest, every weekend is its own story,” Mini said. “What I’ve got to do in two days is reset, start all over again from zero and try to be quick in Barcelona.”

Bortoleto had won the previous two feature races held in Bahrain (after Mini was penalised for an incorrect starting position) and in Melbourne, where he qualified on pole position. The Trident driver also then topped three out of four sessions in April’s in-season test at Barcelona – where F3 returns to race this weekend – although Mini did post the overall best.

Asked by Formula Scout whether he can have the performance on more conventional circuits to close up on Bortoleto, Mini said: “Gabriel usually looks very quick in pretty much all the tracks. Maybe this weekend the team struggled a bit more so that was why he was struggling also himself.

“But we will find out in a week’s time. I think him and the team are really strong in all tracks, at least Barcelona we are pretty sure of that because of the testing. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t try to be quicker than them and try to beat them even on the normal tracks.

“In testing in some sessions we were really quick, some sessions we were struggling a bit more. Some race simulations were really quick and some others we were struggling also. So I think it’s something we will be able to tell for sure after the race, it’s not something we can predict. Of course we’ll push and do our best to be up there at the front.”