Home Featured Realisation “I didn’t need to engineer the car” put Mansell on F3 podium

Realisation “I didn’t need to engineer the car” put Mansell on F3 podium

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Campos Racing

Christian Mansell claimed his maiden FIA Formula 3 podium at Silverstone, driving to third in mixed conditions in the sprint race. He put the result down to a mindset switch.

The Campos Racing driver had already made a step forward in performance during the previous race weekend at the Red Bull Ring. He qualified within the top 10 and scored his then-best finish with seventh place in the feature race.

At Silverstone, he continued to improve as he qualified fourth, which put him ninth on the reversed grid for the sprint race.

“[I’m] pretty over the moon,” Mansell declared after he turned that ninth place into third in last Saturday’s encounter.

“It’s obviously a very good feeling to be up here for the first time. I mean I live in the UK, so it’s a second home race for me. I’m pretty lost for words. I’m just pretty, pretty happy with that. The team, the car, the strategy, everyone nailed everything today. I can’t really ask for much more.”

The safety car was out on lap eight as torrential rain fell at Copse and the Maggotts and Becketts section of the lap. Some drivers pitted for wet-weather tyres, but Mansell stayed out and rose from 11th to seventh. His decision paid off further as the track soon dried out after racing resumed on lap 13 of 18.

“The call to stay out on the dries was [based off] everyone who boxed I definitely thought was too soon because the clouds were shining through for the most part of the safety car period. So I thought to myself that it would dry out,” he explained.

“I’ve raced here in the British categories. I know how quickly this place can dry out. So I had experience in that sort of area. I kind of used that to my advantage. I stayed out and it worked out.”

Mansell also delved into how a change of approach had fuelled his progress in recent rounds.

“F3 is honestly, it’s more in your head than actually driving the car. If you are in a good headspace and you approach the weekend in a certain way, you end up just driving better and feeling better.

“Because if you put all this unnecessary outside pressure on yourself and not just worry about driving the car [you’ll be worse], because at the end of the day that [driving] is what we’re here to do. And I’m trying to fix so many problems, I’m trying to get on top of things, I’m trying to adjust to new things rather than just getting in the car and drive. And that’s what I love doing.

“It was more a realisation that I didn’t need to engineer the car because I have an engineer. So probably let him do that. So instead of complaining, I just drove the car and here I am,” he concluded.

Mansell would round off his best weekend in the series so far with fifth place in Sunday’s feature race.