Updated: Jun 4
Written by Juan Arroyo, Edited by Meghana Sree
Ask anyone who watches the F4 Spain Championship about the main title contenders, and one name consistently emerges: Pedro Clerot.
After securing a championship win in his home country of Brazil, Clerot has set his sights on conquering Europe. With a pole position, two wins, and a podium finish, he has established a significant lead in the standings after the first round.
Clerot didn't anticipate finding himself in this position before the weekend, but he now enters Aragón with a substantial boost in confidence.
“The pace was there. I just had to put everything together. But yeah, that was my main expectation. Coming into qualifying, we had free practice a day before, which was dry, and we were right there. We just needed to find a couple of tenths. But when qualifying came and it started raining, it changed everything. And it went well for MP [Motorsport]. I knew the track well. We managed to lock up the front row in every race, with positions 1-2-3 in qualifying. It was really good.”
Reflecting on the successful first weekend, Clerot expressed his satisfaction: “It feels nice, it feels good. The team is happy with the performance. I'm happy with what I did. I know that the championship level is really high, so for sure, people will get better.”
Clerot refrained from making predictions for the rest of the season, emphasising that the title fight will be fiercely contested until the final races. This sentiment aligns with the expectations of several other drivers who believe that Campos Racing will be faster than MP Motorsport in Aragón.
The circuit proved too slippery for some, as safety car deployments were frequent throughout the weekend. Clerot owes many of the weekend’s points to his ability to overtake on race restarts. In the second race, with Noah Stromsted leading Clerot and Valerio Rinicella, both MP Motorsport cars passed Stromsted on the Kemmel Straight, securing a 1-2 finish and another victory for the Brazilian driver.
“Spa is one of the places where you can really race. You have really long straights in sectors one and three. In sector two, I was just trying to manage to stay close. We have a bit of understeer when we're behind the cars, but I think I managed quite well. Getting a perfect restart is really important here.”
Clerot explained his approach to restarts: “[Spa is] a place where not getting a good start is sometimes even better. Just get too close to the car in front before Eau Rouge; you don't have any action for the [Kemmel] straight.
“Sometimes I would leave a bit more of a gap to get that extra tow after Eau Rouge and just get that extra speed to overtake and have a comfortable overtake, not be really close, you know. Because in one lap with Stromsted, we were really side by side, and also with Valerio, we were side by side. But I think I did a good job.”
Clerot acknowledged the potential for similar moves at the Motorland circuit in Aragón, the next destination on the Spanish F4 calendar.
When asked by Divebomb if the drivers’ title was his main objective, the Brazilian said: “Yes, that's our goal. But I know that the season is going to be really tough. I just want to go race by race and focus on every result.”
In the relatively short Formula 4 calendar, every point holds significance. Clerot emphasised that every point matters, even if it's just a small contribution. Clerot has to maximise every opportunity now to put himself in a position to win the title early.
“I'm happy with the pace we have. I'm happy with the team; we're comfortable, so for sure we're going to do a good job. My goal is to finish in the top three in the championship. If I win, even better.”