Sitting comfortably inside the top 10 in Qualifying, Aurelia Nobels is looking to get two solid results on the board in Round 1 to springboard her to further success.

Whilst she couldn’t quite match the improvements of some of those around her and hang on to her top-four time on the second set of runs, the PUMA driver managed to claim P9 and P8 starts for each of the races.

Although disappointed not to be further up the order, she knows that a bigger task awaits her in the races, as well as a greater reward.

“We started quite well,” said Nobels. “On the first set of tyres, we were P4, so really positive. Knowing we had some issues in Practice, I had to readapt and then on the second set, we struggled a bit to do the step that everyone did.

“I still managed to do a decent lap and stay in P9 and P8. Now we’ll focus on the race because it will be really tricky – a lot of mess in the front. So, we’ll just try to stay out of trouble, gain a lot of positions and try to score a lot of points. This is the main goal and then we see, I’m quite confident because we have the pace.”

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Changing between daytime running to nighttime Qualifying, and then back again, Nobels has been readapting well to the variable conditions. Meeting the demands of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the Brazilian driver believes the races will be more a test of mental fortitude than physical, with tyre degradation not expected to be a factor, despite the lack of fresh tyres available to her.

“A track like Zandvoort is much harder physically,” Nobels said. “There’s a lot of straight lines as well, so physically it’s okay. I think it’s more mentally – it’s a bit hard with the walls. You have to focus and it’s a lot of pressure as well.

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“On this track we don’t have that much tyre deg, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I think most of the teams put the two sets of tyres on, so we’ll see how it goes. Of course, if I feel like I’m having degradation, I’ll manage my driving.”

Ready to put her visor down and go racing for the first time in F1 Academy, Nobels is hungry to climb her way further up the order, but recognises the importance of building a foundation for the year by getting points on the board early on.

“I think it will be very hard, but if I’m in the top five, I’ll be quite happy,” she noted. “If I stay in the points, it’s fine – top five or top seven is okay for me, it’s a decent result.”