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“It’s not an easy moment for us right now”: Antonelli admits after a difficult weekend in Australia

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credits: Kimi Antonelli on X

PREMA had a difficult opening race in Bahrain with both cars only mustering a 10th and 15th, in the Feature Race, respectively. 

Heading to Saudi Arabia, Kimi Antonelli bounced back, qualifying and finishing in sixth, scoring some crucial points for the team, who had only earned four thus far. 

Australia began strong for the young Italian who set a strong lap time of 1:30.127 during practice, rounding out the top three in that session. 

Antonelli headed into qualifying with rapid pace, pulling in a 1:29.038 and securing his first front-row start of the season. 

However, it went downhill on Saturday. Running strong and battling it out with drivers, Antonelli was in the fight for the last position on the podium. Aiming to move up the scoreboard, Antonelli attempted to make a move, however, lost grip and spun out into the barriers, ending his race in heartbreak.

Credit: Kimi Antonelli on X

Starting on the front-row on Sunday was a boost in confidence for the No.4 driver and looking to bounce back, Antonelli made a move for the lead on the opening lap which he successfully did. The PREMA led the race for another lap before Dennis Hauger eventually took his lead back. 

After completing his mandatory pitstop, Isack Hadjar came out ahead of Antonelli running in seventh, effectively taking the win. The Italian, desperate to claim a victory for his team, was unable to pass Hadjar who had started overtaking those who hadn’t pitted in front of him. 

The issue he now faced was keeping his podium position from the hunger of Paul Aron and Zane Maloney. However, he was overtaken by Aron on Lap 20 with Maloney following suit not long after, dropping Antonelli out of podium contention. 

As he crossed the line, Antonelli wound up in fourth, a disappointing result for what could’ve been his first podium of the season. 

Speaking after the race, Antonelli expressed his disappointment about missing out on another podium. He mentioned how the pitstop hindered his race as he struggled to regain his balance and produce the pace he once had at the beginning of the stint: “We will try to change the philosophy on how to set the car up in order to try and find something.

To be honest, it's a shame we just missed out on the podium once again. I think the race started pretty well, pace looked strong, I was able to keep up with the leaders. 

But then after the pitstop, I really struggled to be honest with the balance and the pace was not there.” Antonelli said.

Continuing his conversation, Antonelli touches upon tyre degradation and how his car suffered significantly with it compared to the other drivers: “The worst thing is we suffered a lot more deg compared to the others around and it was really hard to keep up.” 

With the difficult weekend rounded up, the Italian hopes for a better weekend in Imola, confirming that the team is working hard to fix the problems with the PREMA 2024 contender: “Also, throughout the race I lost quite a bit of confidence, but I know the team is working really hard, they are doing their best. 

“It's not an easy moment for us but I am confident that we will find a way out at some point.”

Antonelli currently sits ninth in the standings with 24 points. His team, on the other hand, sit eighth in the standings with 26 points - level with DAMS. 


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