The Hungaroring is always labelled as infamously difficult to overtake on, but Clément Novalak clearly didn’t get the memo. The Carlin Buzz racer’s overtake tally hit double figures, gaining 17 places in total to rise from 26th, to ninth.

Novalak expectedly heralded the performance as one of his very best in a single seater, both for the moves he made, and the way in which himself and his team handled the disappointed of a tough Qualifying session the day before.

“I think it is 100% one of my best {races},” he elated. “Yesterday was really tough, both mentally and in general, so to bounce back like this today means a lot to me and a lot to the team.

“I have got to give them credit, we made some mistakes yesterday but today we were faultless, so hopefully I can deliver a good result tomorrow and make us all feel good.”

Novalak made the most of a chaotic race start, steering clear of trouble and gaining a number of places when Alex Smolyar, Logan Sargeant, Frederik Vesti and Calan Williams all came together at the first corner.

The confidence he gained from his opening lap proved to be absolutely vital, and he was able to find the track limits very early on around a damp Hungaroring. The Frenchman also made the most of the formation lap to assess the condition of the circuit.

“I saw a dry patch around turn 2 on the out laps and decided to make use of this,” he revealed. “That turned out to probably be the best thing I could have done and I managed to get around four or five cars. Then there was obviously the red flag.

“We slowly felt like we had really, really strong pace in the race. I started catching the guys in front and picked them off one by one and managed to finish P9. That is promising for tomorrow, especially with the race pace.”

His performance on Saturday places him on the front row for Race 2 tomorrow, a feat which would have felt highly unlikely on Friday evening.

He continued: “Looking at the race pace, I think we have got strong pace and we can hope for a good race tomorrow. Regarding the conditions, I am not too sure yet. It seems to still be in-between, so that is going to be interesting from our side.

“Starting this race in damp/dry conditions for the first few laps was quite difficult, so if it is the same tomorrow, it will be interesting as well. I think that in the damp conditions, in the slicks, we were quick and understood the track quite well. Hopefully, we can look forward to an eventful race, but maybe less eventful starting from the front this time.”