Thoughts from Hauger, Novalak and Smolyar
FIA Formula 3: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of Race 3 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at Zandvoort. In third place, Alexander Smolyar for ART Grand Prix, in second place, Clément Novalak for Trident and taking his fourth win of the season, and extending his lead in the Championship our winner Dennis Hauger for PREMA Racing. Well done Dennis, after a frustrating end to your race yesterday with your puncture you bounced back in the best possible way. You must be very happy?
Dennis Hauger: It's been a really up and down weekend overall, I think getting the pole and then having to fight our way up in Race 1 and Race 2. Unfortunately, Race 2 didn't pay off in the end but nothing we could have done about it, so it was really nice to get those points for the Championship today and obviously a win is a good feeling so we're going to keep ourselves confident going into the last round.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us about the performance of the car, and the tyres as well, there was late drama once again, but how did the tyres hold together?
Hauger: It's really tempreture related at this track, so I was really pushing in the beginning to try and get that fastest lap and afterwards I tried to settle down and keep the rears especially. To be honest, it was quite a peaceful race in front at the time so it was nice. I had to keep to pushing, it's really hard and physical around here. In the end we managed to get P1 so I'm really happy.
FIA Formula 3: Happy no doubt, you have a 43-point lead in the Championship now. Dare you believe that you have one hand on the title now?
Hauger: I don't want to say anything to be honest, because we keep fighting till the end. We all want to win so I just have to keep my mind sharp and keep working hard as we have this season. Then will we see at the end.
FIA Formula 3: Well done Dennis. Clément coming to you, well done as well, this is your second, second-place of the weekend. First up, talk us through your race?
Clément Novalak: Well I got a pretty good start, managed to make up a position at the start. From then it sort of settled down, we got into this DRS train and everybody was more or less keeping pace with each other. We were more or less even paced in the top six, top seven. So there weren't really any moves that were made. There were a couple of attempts but it was difficult from my end, I was just trying to keep the temperatures under control because it gets even harder when you're following cars for 18 laps. In the end it all erupted into chaos with about three laps to go. I think Victor really wanted to get second place and made a move that was potentially a bit too far away. You know in those moments you have to capitalize and I managed to get the switch back on both of them and from then on with the Virtual Safety Car it was just about nailing the restart and getting second.
FIA Formula 3: As you say you had a bird's eye view of that collision between Victor and David, what did you make of it? Did you think Victor was a little over ambitious?
Novalak: The thing is from a driver's point of view you always want to make moves and gain positions, so I can understand the intent. When you've been following a car that you possibly think you might be a little bit quicker than for 17 laps, you sort of get this built up tension of trying to pass that person. In David's defense, he managed to really keep Victor behind the whole race. The move itself it was a dive bomb, I'm not saying it's a crazy move but he did end up locking up and I think that's the reason why they collided. I don't want to put the blame on anyone, and obviously I came out winning out of this, so I'm happy.
FIA Formula 3: Alex coming to you, it's been a slightly tricky weekend for you so far so how satisfying are you to be on the podium in Race 3?
Alexander Smolyar: For sure it's not been the easiest weekend, but I'm really happy that I managed to avoid any incidents today on track. I think at the start I made a good decision to stay on the inside of Turn 3. I think like three cars got stuck on the outside and I managed to pass all of them. Then in the end Victor made an ambitious move and at that point when he was going for it I already knew I would probably have to avoid a car so then in the end I did and for sure I'm happy that the lap was more or less on my side. To end the weekend and go home with a podium is a great feeling.
FIA Formula 3: And can we get your thoughts on the Championship ending in Sochi in three weeks?
Smolyar: For me at least it's great, it's a home event. I haven't raced in Russia since 2017 so for sure in front of Russian people it's going to be great, but I also wanted to race in Austin actually. I've never been to the USA so I wanted to visit the place, to race there for the first time, but at the same time I was not sure if I could have been able to get the visa. So if the Austin race had taken place maybe I would not have taken part.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you Alex.