Kush Maini against a Campos Racing background

F2 rookie Kush Maini ‘happy to prove many people wrong’ with strong start

Kush Maini’s electric start to life as a Formula 2 rookie continued on Saturday as the Indian driver took his first podium with third place in the sprint at Melbourne. Speaking after the race, the 22-year-old Campos Racing driver assured Feeder Series and selected media that his performances did not surprise him.

By Tyler Foster

“Did I expect this? Yes, 100%. If I didn’t think I could fight in the front, I wouldn’t waste my time being here. I definitely believed I could fight at the front, so [I’m] happy to prove many people wrong. I expected it.”

In the five races of the F2 season prior to the Melbourne feature, Maini has scored four points finishes, including third on Saturday and a fourth in the feature race at Bahrain. Thanks to his consistent speed, he has consistently been in the mix, and he now sits seventh in the championship.

“I feel all year we’ve had the pace, in the top eight every qualifying and knocking on the door of the podium on both weekends prior to this. Coming into this, it was just do the same thing as the first two weekends, and it was bound to come together at some point. Happy to get it off my back, now that I’ve finally got my first podium, but definitely wanting more in the future.”

The joint efforts of Maini and his teammate, the ultra-experienced Ralph Boschung, have made Campos Racing legitimate contenders for the teams’ title. The team finished last in the standings last year, but the Bangalore-born driver told Feeder Series that the team should not be discounted.

“Campos’ pace I think has always been there. It’s just a matter of things coming together, and to the start of this year, they have.”

Campos’ pace I think has always been there. It’s just a matter of things coming together, and to the start of this year, they have

Kush Maini (Campos Racing)

Maini also touched on his battle during the sprint race with DAMS rookie Arthur Leclerc, who jockeyed with him for the final spot on the rostrum in the early stages of the race. Maini’s retaking of third from Leclerc into Turn 11 on Lap 7 specifically highlighted his tenacious attitude.

“I was expecting there to be a train, but the tow down that back section was just crazy,” he said. “There was a lot of looking in your mirrors, a lot of positioning the car so you don’t give the car behind enough space to squeeze through. It was fun to battle with [Leclerc]. I think in tomorrow’s feature race, I’m going to expect something completely different. It’s really fun here.”

The confidence that Maini possesses isn’t new;. it was built from a season in Formula 3 with MP Motorsport. Despite only scoring a total of 31 points and finishing 14th overall, the Indian raised a few eyebrows across that campaign with a podium in Hungary. He spoke on his time in the series, giving further backstory to his recent rise.

“F3 is F3 – it’s just carnage. It’s tough to put a weekend together. I feel we had a lot of pace. Obviously, I missed a whole year of racing prior to F3, so I was very rusty, making silly mistakes. But I’m the same driver now, just got a year under my belt which is improving my confidence, but I always knew I had the pace. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in F2 right now.”

Header photo credit: Campos Racing


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