THOUGHTS FROM VESTI, ZENDELI AND BECKMANN
FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three finishers in Race 1 of this weekend's FIA Formula 3 Championship round in Austria. We are joined by race winner Frederik Vesti for PREMA Racing, in second place is Lirim Zendeli for Trident, and third is David Beckmann, also for Trident. Frederik, we mentioned that you had an interrupted qualifying session yesterday, but nothing like the race we've had today. Just how hard was it out there for you?
Frederik Vesti: Before the race we were on the grid, deciding whether to go with the slick tyres or wets. In the end everyone chose the wet tyres and that seemed to be the best decision! The first laps were quite okay. There was not much rain. But then suddenly the sky just opened, and the rain came on. I think the car was very good. I was confident all the way - on the brakes and on the power. That's what we needed. There were two safety cars, and one virtual safety car, so I was interrupted a bit but after the restarts I just kept going and got back into the rhythm. In the end we won the race and I'm very proud of that.
FIA Formula 3: We heard your team radio at the end when they announced that you are an FIA Formula 3 race winner. How does that feel?
Frederik: It's very big for me. Coming from Denmark and moving up through the classes, I'm very proud. I'd like to thank all my sponsors for giving me the opportunity to be here, and to PREMA of course for letting me race in a good car. Thank you for that.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations today. Lirim, moving on to you. Second place and it looks like it all hinged on a good start. Talk us through that.
Lirim Zendeli: I had an amazing start really. I think I was the only one without wheel-spin. I went from P6 to P2 in the first corner. I was next to Frederik, but he did a good job defending his position. After that it didn't happen a lot. It was not easy to keep P2 either because we had switch from dry yesterday to rain today. As race drivers we would have liked to continue the race, but I think ending it early and safely was the right decision.
FIA Formula 3: It did look very tricky out there. Just how difficult was it following another car with the spray?
Lirim: The closer I was the more difficult it was. The spray was huge. I couldn't see anything. At the safety car restarts I was really close, and I had to guess where the braking point was! I was looking to the left thinking, 'okay, there's the board!' It was fun.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. David, moving on to you. When you were starting from the front row, I imagine you were probably aiming for the lead at Turn 1, but it looked like a tricky first lap. You had to get your elbows out. Just what was it like from your perspective?
David Beckmann: The start was not too good. The first lift off was quite good, but as soon as I released the clutch, I got wheel-spin. I couldn't really handle it. At least I defended P3, because another car was also on my right and I just held it. Lirim did a mega start though. I don't think anybody could defend against him, except Fred of course. It was a good result with good points. Unfortunately, in the end we couldn't race anymore. The first five laps were really nice. There was a bit of aquaplaning in some corners, but it was really nice to drive. You could really battle each other. But of course, at the end it just got worse and worse. Even now it's still raining! It wouldn't have made any sense to have continued, but obviously it would have been nice. You can't change the weather though, and this is a good result.
FIA Formula 3: I asked Lirim about following another car, but did you have to be extra cautious because you were behind a teammate in those conditions?
David: When you are in the top three, I think you are really cautious anyway. You don't want to throw that away in these conditions. I think everyone was really cautious, especially in the spray at the end. It was quite hard. After the safety car when the field was quite close it was even worse. It was a good race, even though the ending was a bit sad.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations on a good result today. Frederik, just returning to you. Pole position yesterday, the race win today - even if it was in a reduced length race. What can you do tomorrow?
Frederik: Tomorrow morning we'll start from P10. I don't know the weather yet, I guess it will be dry, but no one knows here. We will enjoy today, wake up with a fresh mind tomorrow and see what we can do. I'll definitely be going for points again and try to do the best job possible. I'm looking forward to that.