Starting as she means to go on, Doriane Pin opened Round 2 as the fastest driver out on track in Free Practice 1, topping the timing sheets on her debut in Miami.

Back behind the wheel of the #28 car, she and Alpine’s Abbi Pulling exchanged personal best benchmarks throughout. Posting a 1:59.949 in the final 10 minutes, the Mercedes driver put out a statement of intent as she claimed the only sub 2-minute time of the session.

Speaking after her debrief, Pin was pleased with how her first appearance at the American street circuit had gone and to keep the momentum from the season opener going.

“Honestly, I’m very happy,” she remarked. “Happy overall because we are in front and we are fighting for the top position again after a really good weekend in Jeddah. I think we still have some work to do because I just learnt the track this morning.

“The track is challenging with some high-speed corners in Sector 1, but Sector 2 is very technical as well. So, it’s a balance in terms of setup — we have to always find a compromise to have the best car possible to prepare for Quali tomorrow. I think we have to keep working and continue in in that direction.”

Unusually, this weekend presents a whole new challenge for her and PREMA Racing — with the Miami track a completely unknown entity to them. Additionally, they have the only line-up not to feature at least one driver with previous experience at the track to rely on.

PREMA Racings Pin was fastest in the opening Practice session of Round 2
PREMA Racing's Pin was fastest in the opening Practice session of Round 2

Without those references, Pin and her team have two Free Practices to gather as much data as possible, as opposed to the three days of testing prior to Round 1 in Jeddah. Putting the onus on the drivers, Pin admits that her feedback will be paramount to establishing the right setup.

“It’s challenging because the team have also never driven here before,” she said. “So, all the information that you get to the team is very important because the performance of the weekend will be linked to what we are saying during Free Practice.

READ MORE: PRACTICE: Pin hits the ground running in Miami

“It’s very strange and challenging, especially when we have only two 40-minute Free Practices before Qualifying. It’s not that much driving, so we really have to be focused.”

Considering that four of the top six drivers in the Standings have prior knowledge of the track, Pin admits that her rivals, such as Pulling, could have an early edge on the newcomers as she is yet to find the sweet spot in her car.

“I think it's always an experience when you know the track and you know all the details, like the bumps,” the Mercedes driver explained. “We discovered that this morning, so with the balance and the setup we have to make some improvements. Obviously, when you already know the track, you’re at an advantage, but we’ll do the maximum and do our job."

Pin has another 40-minute Free Practice to build on what shes learnt before Qualifying on Saturday morning
Pin has another 40-minute Free Practice to build on what she's learnt before Qualifying on Saturday morning

She added: “It’s tighter than Jeddah! We have to keep working and even if we are in the front, we always have something to improve and to learn from, and we are on it.”

READ MORE: Weug 'wanting more' in Miami as she hunts down first F1 ACADEMY victory

After a post-race penalty denied her a clean sweep in Jeddah, Pin is understandably looking to bounce back and recover the 12-point lost ground to Pulling at the top of the table. However, she recognises that it won’t be a straightforward affair, with plenty of competition in the hunt for victory.

“It’s still the target,” she noted. “We want to continue on in that direction, respecting also the competition because everyone is improving and everyone is competitive. We obviously want to do like we did in Jeddah and we’ll do our best to make it.”