Mitch Gilbert sends out a message to his GP3 competitors

after topping final session of first official test of the season

Mitch Gilbert was delighted to top the timesheet in the final session of the first official test of the GP3 season.The 20-year-old, driving for new team Carlin for the first time, showed he’ll be one to watch when the season gets under way in May, after a strong couple of days in Estoril. And the Australian was happy to see the last few months’ hard work behind the scenes starting to pay off.

He said: “We’ve been working non-stop to make sure we hit the ground running. It’s a totally different atmosphere here with Carlin. They want to be first, they have a winning formula and they get it across to the drivers. It’s very new for me, but it makes you feel you’re going to win before you even get behind the wheel. I’ve also changed my trainer and I feel fitter than I ever have. It all means I’m in really good shape and can’t wait for the season to get going!”

Mitch finished seventh in the first session and ended 12th in the afternoon of the first day, despite a few issues with the steering.

He finished sixth in the morning session of the second day before saving the best for last – topping the timesheet in the final outing. He continued: “We were one of a large group of drivers who saved a set of tyres until the last session and we came in, in a real quick time. We then had to wait about three hours for everyone else to come in before finding out where we placed. It’s been a really long time since I topped a session so it’s given me a boost. It is nice to finally get the disappointing last couple of years well and truly behind me and be able to look ahead with real belief.”

The Twickenham driver is gearing up to the first race at Barcelona in May with a proper pre-season behind him – having moved to Trident last year mid-season.

And he knows that being in the safe hands of Carlin will give him all the confidence he needs going forward – although he’s admitted he’s not setting himself any targets.

He will now be keeping in shape before the next two tests in April, starting with Valencia.

He added: “I’m not setting myself any goals this year, I want to take one race at a time, but after Estoril, I’m looking forward to the season even more.”

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