"Going out in free air while everyone else was in the pits was a brilliant strategy"– after a challenging practice session, a few setup changes and a clever strategy in qualifying put Veloce Racing's Bruna Tomaselli on the third row for the upcoming W Series race at Hungaroring.
Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli – one of the six rookies in the 2021 W Series season – already proved her speed in the opening races, when she qualified on the second row at the Austrian GP and went on to finish fifth.
The Veloce Racing driver, teammate of reigning champion and current title contender Jamie Chadwick, had a challenging free practice session on Friday, when she spent the 30 available minutes to learn the secrets of the Hungaroring.
Tomaselli finished the session in 15th place and had to focus on the setup improvements to apply to her car before going into qualifying.
“I spent the practice session trying to get to know the circuit." – she said. "It's a very technical track as well. I focused on analyzing what could be done to improve the lap time in qualifying.”
Bruna knew from her experience at Silverstone how much of a difference a positive qualifying can impact the race – something that is going to be even more crucial at the notoriously tricky to pass on Hungaroring.
"Silverstone was a learning experience." – she explained. "I couldn't do a good qualifying and it hurt me a lot in the race. So I knew that here I would have to do something different."
When everyone pitted for new tyres mid-way through the session, Tomaselli anticipated everyone and went out on track on the fresher Hankook rubber during her competitors' pit stops, resulting in the Veloce Racing driver having clean air and no traffic through the first two flying laps. The strategy call brought Tomaselli up to second place – only behind her teammate and eventual pole-sitter Jamie Chadwick.
While the Brazilian struggled to replicate the same performance towards the end of the session, she still finished sixth fastest, clinching a third-row start for the Hungarian round.
“This is a great result considering where we were in practice." – Tomaselli said. "We worked on the setup and that gave us some extra pace but I think going out in free air while everyone else was in the pits was a brilliant strategy" – she recalls.
“It’s a shame we weren’t able to hang on to the front row slot but the field is very competitive and small margins make a really big difference."
Also, a small mistake and the traffic of a driver going off track just ahead of her meant that Tomaselli might have left something on the table.
"I also think there was some more time out there, but on one lap I made a mistake and on another a driver left the track in front of me and I had to abort. I'm very happy to start in sixth position, because I know I can be competitive tomorrow and recover the points lost at Silverstone" – she added.
Together with Nerea Marti, Irina Sidorkova, and Belén Garcia, Bruna Tomaselli continues to impress in her first W Series season.
"A clever strategy to get some free air ensured she was in the mix at the front and she was looking really competitive against the rest of the field." – echoed Mariella Bailey, Veloce Racing's Team Principal.
While it is certainly no easy feat to match a teammate like Chadwick, Tomaselli is learning quickly and will start tomorrow's Hungarian round targeting another top-5.