Kush Maini fights back to sixth place in Monte Carlo

The Indian driver completed an outstanding performance on Sunday to score more points to his tally and sits fourth overall. Boschung struggled after starting from the back of the grid following an unlucky qualifying session when a red flag prevented the Swiss driver from improving his lap time

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Campos Racing scored another valuable haul of points in the frame of the Monaco Grand Prix, which hosted the fifth round of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 season. Kush Maini put in a remarkable recovery drive on Sunday in the extremely difficult streets of the Principality. By contrast, Swiss Ralph Boschung experienced a much more difficult race weekend in Monte Carlo and couldn’t make it to the finish in none of the races.

Thursday’s free practice brought mixed feelings for the Campos Racing drivers in FIA Formula 2. Indian Maini posted a lap of 1m22.711s to finish 8th in the standings, which was a positive start to the weekend on his debut with a F2 car in Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, Boschung’s session was dashed after just five laps when Roman Staněk didn’t notice him and collided with the Swiss driver of Campos Racing. Boschung lost plenty of valuable time on track and couldn’t even try the super soft compound.

On Friday, Maini took part in Q1 and very early in the session posted a lap time of 1m22.725s before lowering to 1m21.903s. Arthur Leclerc crashed into the barriers and brought the red flag out with 5 minutes to go. At the restart, Richard Verschoor blocked Maini in his last flying lap and his time of 1m21.820s left him in sixth place. In Q2, Boschung moved up to fifth provisionally with three minutes to go with many drivers improving their lap times. Unfortunately, another red flag impeded Boschung from completing a final lap and finished 10th in the standings with a lap of 1m22.182s.

Saturday’s sprint race, consisting of 30 laps, didn’t bring a fair reward for Campos Racing and their drivers. Maini, who had started from 12th on the grid, was hit from behind by Clément Novalak and spun at Nouvelle Chicane in lap 1. As a result of the traffic jam, Boschung stopped on track and he couldn’t rejoin. From then onwards, Maini pushed to move through the field in the remaining laps from the back. His close fight with local favorite Leclerc was one of the eye-catchers during the race and finally the Indian driver took the checkered flag in 14th place.   

For Sunday’s feature race, Maini set to start on the soft compound. Boschung chose the softer compound instead. The first lap was all about avoiding any mistake. Both Maini and Boschung lost several places but they managed to keep their cars in one piece. Boschung made his mandatory pit stop on lap 7. After almost 20 laps, Maini had moved up into the top-ten taking the most out of his first long stint. Just by the hallway point, Jack Doohan crashed hard at Massenet and his car caught fire. As a result, the race was suspended for several minutes. At the restart, which took place behind the safety car, Maini gained another place when Victor Martins was handed a drive through penalty for not slowing down under yellow flags conditions. After 39 laps, Maini crossed the finish line in sixth place. Unfortunately, Boschung’s race came to an early end and he couldn’t reach the finish line.

Indian Maini is now fourth in the drivers’ standings on 49 points and is the best rookie driver classified. Campos Racing is fifth in the teams’ standings with 82 points to its tally.

With no time to rest, the sixth round is just around the corner. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.