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F2: Martins admits he doesn’t put himself ‘yet in the title fight’

Victor Martins has outscored all other drivers in the past three races, putting him fifth in the championship, equal with Ollie Bearman

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FormulaNerds spoke to ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins ahead of the Formula 2 weekend in Budapest, where the Frenchman spoke about the races ahead and his place in the championship. 

Victor Martins
Race winner Victor Martins celebrates in parc ferme during the Round 9: Silverstone Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

This weekend Formula 2 joins Formula 1 and Formula 3 in Budapest at the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix. In the top tier of the feeder series, Frederik Vesti is leading the championship. However, Victor Martins, the 2022 F3 Champion, currently sits in fifth, equal with Ollie Bearman only 47 points off Vesti.

Martins moved up to F2 this year. Last time out at Silverstone, he achieved his first race win in the series. Whilst it was his first victory, it wasn’t his first pole position. Martins has taken pole position three times this year at Saudi Arabia, Austria and Silverstone.

The Frenchman’s qualifying pace has been one of his key strengths throughout all the race weekends in 2023. He has the pace and as a result, he’s been able to take six podiums across the first nine rounds.

Now heading into Round 10, Martins revealed to FormulaNerds, in a Virtual Media Roundtable, how he was feeling ahead of the weekend and in terms of the championship.

‘I don’t put myself yet in the title fight’

With Martins not too far off from Vesti in terms of points, FormulaNerds spoke to the ART Grand Prix driver to get his insight into whether he feels more pressure at this stage of the championship. Martins said:

“Actually, on my side, I feel really good after the win in Silverstone. Of course, we are on a really good momentum. Also, I got the third pole of the year with the team. So obviously the pace is clearly there, always fighting for pole in qualifying.

“And also, start obviously in free practice tomorrow, we need to work to prepare for quali as best as possible.”

Martins did tell FormulaNerds that at the moment, he isn’t really thinking of the championship and wouldn’t put himself in contention for the title. He admitted:

“On the other hand, I’m not feeling any pressure because I don’t put myself yet in the title fight. I’m quite far still you know on the points side.

“Honestly, I’m just trying to maximise the time on track, always try to make the most out of free practice, learn as much as possible. There was in the past rounds, it’s the first time I’m driving with F2 on the track, so it’s never easy to directly be on the pace and feel good.

“So, I’m just trying to focus on that. The job I need to do with the team, prepare as much as possible, all the details to be ready and score some points. But we have the pace all the time so it’s just a matter of keeping it clean, safe and playing it smart also.”

Importance of qualifying to Martins

As well as speaking on the championship, Martins commented on qualifying as part of a race weekend.  In the Virtual Media Roundtable, the Alpine Academy driver reflected on the “good direction” he’s been going lately.

He told the media that in qualifying, he’s “always” been in the top eight, “and most of the time in the top three, which is the most important thing in F2.” Martins elaborated by saying:

“…if you want some opportunities to score points you need to at least be in the top five to get some possibilities in the sprint race, but also in the feature race, which is the most important.”

He then went on to tell FormulaNerds which remaining circuit on the calendar will be the most challenging in terms of securing pole position, in his opinion. Martins commented saying:

“I would say Monza. We all know Monza is sometimes a bit of a mess, to try to find track positioning, have a good position, get the tow, and get a clean lap. And after I don’t know, sometimes you expect a green qualifying, but it’s starting to be a bit of a mess and it’s difficult to get away from traffic or get your tyres in the window.

“You never know. So you just prepare for every situation and just try to maximise and get the most out of the situation at the moment.”

Martins continued saying the Zandvoort is one circuit he’s looking forward to driving. He told FormulaNerds:

“Zandvoort, I’m looking forward to Zandvoort personally, because it’s one of my favourite tracks. And I would like to driver there with Formula 2, I think it will be quite nice and interesting.

“Abu Dhabi will be fine. Spa, with the tow it can be difficult… What I can say is that there has been quite a bit of red flags since the beginning of the season in qualifying.

“It’s for sure something to bear in mind, to be prepared for that, for traffic, for tyre warmup, for everything.”

Hungarian Grand Prix

F2 race this weekend around the Hungaroring. Martins is P5 in the championship, but coming from pole position and a feature race win at Silverstone, will he be able to close the gap to Vesti this weekend?

Headline Image: GettyImages

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