Gabriele Mini did not leave anything on the table and even brushed the barriers several times in his attempt to win the 2023 Macau Grand Prix, but it was not enough.
The Alpine junior admitted that he just did not have enough pace to defeat former team-mate Luke Browning and Hitech GP, who he had raced for in the FIA Formula 3 Championship before switching allegiances to the Theodore Racing-branded Prema team for Macau’s F3 World Cup.
Mini spent most of the grand prix in second place, having overtaken Hitech’s Alex Dunne at the start. But he dropped behind MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger with four laps to go at the safety car restart that followed a 54-minute red flag period.
“It was an amazing weekend overall. Macau is special, it’s an iconic track. It would have been of course better to win,” he said after finishing third.
“I didn’t really have any expectations [before the weekend]. It’s a street circuit, you know it’s very hard and you know that it’s also a single race, so it can happen [that] you just try to out-brake yourself and maybe you end up in a wall.
“All I tried to do was to learn the track step-by-step and go into the qualifying trying to get a bit more risk, which is what I did. We did P3 yesterday in the qualification race; managed to stay in P2 for most of the race today; tried to go on the inside of both Luke and Dennis but there was just not enough space after Luke moved a bit. So just had to step it back otherwise there would have been a crash.
“Not going to lie, I’m not fully satisfied with P3, especially after showing really good speed. Also compared to the others, we were very quick, we were matching with Luke. So a bit disappointed with P3, but it’s still I think a good achievement.”
Despite his disappointment, the Italian affirmed the victory was out of reach having given “my 100%” in his performance.
“I think I touched at least six or seven times the walls. Even after the safety car restart, trying to get again Dennis back, I touched the wall in two corners in the very high-speed section. So I cannot lie, I gave it just everything I had, no more margin like a bit maybe I did yesterday.
“But we were maybe not fast enough probably to overtake Luke. We were matching his pace at the first laps, trying to save a bit more the tyres towards the last laps before the red flag. And then it was all about trying to go on the inside before turn three, after the safety car restart. That’s why I tried to stay on my line, I tried to go on the inside, but just didn’t quite work. It’s a bit disappointing to not have finished in P2, but I think P3 or P2 was the maximum we could have done today.”