Kush Maini scores big haul of points in Baku

The Indian racer finished fourth and fifth in both races held in frame of the F1 Azerbaijani Grand Prix. Maini delivered sensational recovery drives in his Campos Racing-run Dallara F2 car. Boschung endures tough weekend

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Campos Racing showed strong pace once again at Baku Street Circuit, which hosted the fourth round of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship season. Indian Kush Maini excelled at the wheel of his Campos Racing-entered Dallara F2 car bringing other two strong results home as he was able to fight for more podiums over the weekend. Unfortunately, Ralph Boschung couldn’t add more points to his tally. The Swiss racer struggled in both races following a difficult qualifying session. 

On Friday, both Maini and Boschung made a brilliant start to the weekend. Despite it was his first appearance in Baku, Maini posted the 3rd-fastest lap time in the morning’s free practice session. The Indian racer clocked a time of 1m54.376s after completing 18 laps. Boschung rounded out the top-five with a best lap time of 1m54.496s. Qualifying session promised to be another difficult task due to traffic, yellow and red flags. Sadly, it was the case for both Campos Racing drivers. Boschung set a best lap time of 1m53.637s to take 11th, just one place away of securing the pole position on the reverse grid for Saturday. Maini was blocked by Théo Pourchaire on his best flying lap, in fact the Frenchman got a 3-place grid penalty later. Maini’s best lap of 1m53.920s left him 14th on the grid.  

Saturday’s sprint race saw both cars in Campos Racing colors making outstanding starts. In fact, Boschung had moved up to sixth after the first lap with Maini also gaining several places and running in 11th in the opening stages of the race. Boschung’s race didn’t last a lot as he was forced to stop on lap 4, which also brought the safety car out. By then, Maini had moved up to ninth. The Indian driver overtook Enzo Fittipaldi at the restart and made it into the points-paying positions. On lap 15, Roy Nissany clipped the wall and the safety car was deployed. With three laps to go, the safety car headed into the pit lane but T1 turned to be crazy, as several drivers missed the braking point and ran wide. Maini took advantage from the chaos and took the fourth place. The safety car was called again and the race came to an end behind of it, with Maini taking the checkered flag in fourth place.  Sunday’s feature race brought more chances for points. As almost every driver on the grid, Boschung and Maini chose to start on the soft compound tire. When the lights went out, Maini and Boschung avoided any contact in a clean race start in such a difficult street circuit. Maini rapidly moved through the field and moved past Arthur Leclerc in lap 5. Boschung made his pit stop in lap 7 to make to the finish of the 29-lap race on the hard compound tire. Maini remained on track three laps further and made his mandatory pit stop on lap 10. He rejoined the track virtually fighting for the top-5 with Frederik Vesti. Maini completed a very solid second half part of the race keeping Dennis Hauger at bay despite the Norwegian driver had the DRS at his disposal. Maini’s last laps were pretty competitive with a newer tire and crossed the finish line in fifth place. Boschung got stuck in traffic and couldn’t fight for the points. 

After four events, Maini sits fifth overall in the drivers’ standings on 41 points. Boschung is currently seventh on 33 points. Campos Racing is fourth in the teams’ standings on 74 points. 

The fifth round of the season will take place at Imola circuit in three weeks’ time.