Red Bull Junior F3 roundup
After last weekend’s epic FIA Formula 3 victory, Liam Lawson looked to be headed for a fabulous repeat when he took two cars in one move, snatching the lead early in Race 2 in Spielberg. The 18-year-old New Zealander had to fight for it though and when he touched a kerb late in the race the steering wheel and victory were wrenched from his hands.
The resulting, relatively minor collision with the opponent’s car outside him wrecked his front suspension and the race was over. Fellow Red Bull Junior and Hitech driver Dennis Hauger finished 12th with Igor Fraga 14th and Jack Doohan 20th.
Lawson denied a second win
“I’m disappointed… but we’ll bounce back next week,” asserted Lawson. “It’s obviously a real shame.”
“At that point in the race I wasn’t pushing, I feel like we had it completely under control and I was really just setting things up for the last couple of laps.”
“I didn’t even mean to try and pass him again to be honest. He braked early, I braked at my normal spot coming into the corner. I was just going to drive round normally on the inside, I wasn’t going to try anything, otherwise I would have carried more speed.”
“I was just going to drive next to him but I got on the inside kerb and because it’s going downhill the car unloaded
and snapped round.”
“When it did that the wheel slipped out of my hands, I couldn’t grab it in time and when I lost the wheel the car went left and straight into the side of him. I was trying really hard to catch it and if I had kept hold of the wheel I would have been fine but I didn’t and that was it.”
“Really frustrating because we had good pace, the race was under control at this point. Very disappointing.”
In a repeat of last weekend, Lawson was left to make up ground after qualifying 10th.
“We think it’s more of a track problem for us, just like last weekend we struggled to turn on the tyre again for this weekend in Quali. We are confident that we can get that done next weekend and have a stronger Quali. That is the goal we are working on, especially as passing round Budapest is difficult.”
“Race 1 was disappointing for different reasons than today. Wet conditions I normally really really like and do well in. But in these conditions there was so much torrential rain and so much standing water that there was only one line to drive on. If you went off line to pass you were in trouble, no grip or just standing water. There was very little overtaking,” concluded Lawson.
#5 Liam Lawson (NZL – Hitech Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 10th – Race 1 Grid: 10th – Race 1 Result: 8th
Race 2 Grid top 10 in reverse order: 3rd – Race 2 Result: DNF (Incident)
FIA F3 Championship position: 7th – 25 points – after 4 races
Hauger moving forward
“At least in the last race it was a step forward I think,” stated the 17-year-old Norwegian frankly. “There were some good points from the weekend. In Free Practice we didn’t put in new tyres like the others and I was P6 before the others put in their new tyres so I think that wasn’t a bad start.“
“Going into Qualifying, on the first new tyre run we were like, top 10 and best in the team. So I felt quite confident going into the second stint but something happened, I don’t know what but we couldn’t really get the maximum out of the tyres and I didn’t have the overall grip that I thought I would. That put me a bit on the back foot in terms of a Qualifying lap time.”
“Then, going into the first race… it wasn’t that much of a race, just trying to survive actually. There was so much aquaplaning and stuff, I think I got up only one or two positions but there was a lot of work with Safety Cars and it was all very difficult….and then Red Flagged.
“In Race 2 we made a bit of an improvement compared to where we have been and I got up from P18 to P12 and that wasn’t too bad I think. It’s not real easy to get past with the Safety Cars and Virtual Safety Cars as well. So overall I think we can bring something positive from the weekend going to Budapest and just keep improving,” explained the Hitech driver.
#6 Dennis Hauger (NOR – Hitech Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 20th – Race 1 Grid: 20th – Race 1 Result: 18th
Race 2 Grid top 10 in reverse order: 18th – Race 2 Result: 12th
FIA F3 Championship position: 19th – 0 points – after 4 races
Fraga fighting technical gremlins again
its really unfortunate because just like last weekend we had technical
trouble in Qualifying and again I couldn’t get the laps in to be able to
start towards the front,” explained the 21-year-old Brazilian.
“We have the pace, we could have been there but it is kind of frustrating. We stayed late at the track after Practice with the team, working on the car and everything, trying to do everything we can to get these issues sorted out so that we can get out of Qualifying what we know is possible. A lot of things have been changed and problems solved so I hope that we can really move forward from here next weekend.”
“Yesterday was kind of a snowball for me, it was the result of the two weekends and the problems we had. Because of the issues last weekend I did not get the running in the wet that I should and then in Saturday’s race with so much rain and spray I missed having the practice is those conditions.”
“It was really difficult for me, especially at the beginning and then as I started to pick up the pace and start a recovery they Red Flagged it so the finish position was not what I wanted and didn’t give us a good grid position for today.”
“But Race 2 was much better, the car had a good balance and I enjoyed the race, I could make up quite a lot of places just like I did last week. Those races are OK but really we should be starting for a lot further forward. We should next weekend,” stated the Charouz driver.
#24 Igor Fraga (BRA – Charouz Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 24th – Race 1 Grid: 24th – Race 1 Result: 26th
Race 2 Grid top 10 in reverse order: 26th – Race 2 Result: 14th
FIA F3 Championship position: 21st – 0 points – after 4 races
Doohan to produce deeds not words
“The way the weekend turned out started in Quali really,” explained the 17-year-old Australian. “It started half decent, after the first stint though I didn’t get a clear run so couldn’t get the full potential but we were sitting in P8 early on. So that was better than where we were the previous weekend at that point.”
“Then we tried to go for a better strategy, running a low fuel load to help the performance, take a bit of a risk. But after a Red Flag, when the session resumed we could not go out with everyone else because we didn’t have enough fuel. We had to wait a couple of minutes but then there was another Red Flag so we didn’t get to go and then when the session did resume there was still ten minutes to go but my car didn’t start. So we missed the second run.”
“Just going on the improvement others made I feel we should have been around P5 or P6, of course that’s just speculation but I felt that is where we should have been.”
“But with no second run we qualified so far back that it seemed to make sense to take a chance with the strategy and go for slicks though almost everyone was on wets. But then the rain got a lot heavier and I had to box at the end of the formation lap. We were on a completely dry set-up with rain tyres so that wasn’t the best, just had to survive.”
“Today, in the dry I was quite confident as I knew we had good pace and was looking forward to doing something. We haven’t been able to show our potential in any sort of way so I was keen and on the first lap was up four spots.”
“Then I tried an overtake into T1 and the guy banged wheels with me on the entry and I was on the outside. Then he drove into me at T3 so I lost places. Then I came back and caught him again down into T4 and he ran me off the track again, so I dropped back I think to last.”
“I managed to get back up to P20, still not anywhere near where we should and it all stemmed from Qualifying really. If we had not had the issue there we would not have taken the gamble with the tyres in Race 1, we would have been closer to the front and never would have gambled. Then I think we should have been in a really good position for the reversegrid at least.”
“We’ll have to sort that out for the Hungaroring, I know I said that last week and I don’t want to just repeat myself, hopefully this time it will be action not just words,” concluded the HWA driver with a smile.
#16 Jack Doohan (AUS – HWA Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 23rd – Race 1 Grid: 23rd – Race 1 Result: 22nd
Race 2 Grid top 10 in reverse order: 22nd – Race 2 Result: 20th
FIA F3 Championship position: 22nd – 0 points – after 4 races