Doriane Pin’s return to action after sustaining fractured ribs last month was an achievement in itself for the Mercedes driver – that was before she went on to earn two top-four starts. Nevertheless, Pin was left wondering what could have been at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Suffering poor getaways off the line in both races left the French racer fighting to salvage crucial points, particularly in Race 1. Bogged down at lights-out from P4, Pin tumbled to the back of the field and had a race against time to take seventh at the chequered flag.

Dropping from P3 to P6 in Race 2, she couldn’t quite make the same inroads. Eventually finishing fifth, Pin was left to reflect on a weekend that fell short of expectations.

“I think they’re good, valuable points for the Standings, but it’s not what we wanted,” she said. “I think we missed some pace during Qualifying, so not starting on the front row was a bit less of a chance to have a very, very good race. We still managed to find some overtakes, but I did a big mistake in Race 1 by missing the start, so I dropped completely to the back and came back to P7. The pace was very good compared to the others.

“In terms of racecraft, we improved quite a lot. It's quite new for me, as endurance is not the same with fighting and learning. It’s a lot of work and I think I’m pretty happy about it. In Race 2, the track condition was very different, we struggled to put energy in the tyres but I think everyone struggled for the same reason.

“Not a mega start, we lost a few positions. I came back a bit, but not where we want to be. We’re going to work and find out a bit more to comeback even stronger in Zandvoort.”

Pin says her ability to manage the tyre degradation was one of her strengths in Barcelona
Pin says her ability to manage the tyre degradation was one of her strengths in Barcelona

Despite the setbacks, Pin is trying to draw the longer-term positives from the experience this weekend rather than dwelling on the negatives. Still adapting to single-seaters, the PREMA Racing driver got her first real experience of battling in the thick of it in F1 ACADEMY, alongside navigating substantial tyre degradation for the first time.

When asked about the biggest things she was still trying to learn and understand with the car, she admitted: “Honestly, a bit of everything. I'm learning every day, even if I know the car. We learn something every day, every time we jump in the car. In terms of racecraft, I think it’s good that I had to work on it and we made a big step forwards on that.

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“In terms of race pace, the degradation is huge here and I think we were one of the ones that managed it better than the others because we analysed it. The drop off for them was after 7 laps and we dropped off in 10 laps, so we were good. Overall, that’s positive, but we have to be straightaway on the pace and we were not this weekend.”

Pin now has a 66-point deficit to Standings leader Abbi Pulling, with her in second, tied with Haas’ Chloe Chambers on 81 points. With eight races to go, the Mercedes driver is optimistic that there’s still plenty of time and opportunities to catch her.

Pin believes fighting in the midfield was a valuable chance to hone her racecraft
Pin believes fighting in the midfield was a valuable chance to hone her racecraft

“Every race I’m maximising everything,” she said. “I’m giving 100% of myself and I try to do my job with the team to get the best result possible. We’re a bit far, on less points than Abbi obviously, but there are a lot of races still to go in the season and still a lot to do to recover. So, we keep pushing.”

Whilst the summer break is usually a time to kick back and relax, Pin isn’t putting her feet up just yet. With her recovery ongoing, she’s returning to compete in the two July rounds of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine in Mugello and Paul Ricard before she’ll race around the Circuit Zandvoort for the first time when F1 ACADEMY returns at the end of August.

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“We have a bit more time to work on stuff,” she noted. “Also, I will drive in FRECA, so it will keep me busy. Summer is good to train. It’s good to be even more fit and focused on the races to come, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to drive again because I’m already missing the car.

“I hope I can get back to winning races and I’ll definitely work for that. Zandvoort, I don’t know so much about, we’ve tested there so that’s good because it’s quite technical. It’s different to all the other tracks, so it’s going to be interesting and let’s see.”