THOUGHTS FROM VESTI, HUGHES AND POURCHAIRE
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 at Mugello. We are joined by race winner Frederik Vesti for PREMA Racing, in second place is Jake Hughes for HWA RACELAB, and third is Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix. Frederik, back-to-back Race 1 wins, and it was thrilling to watch. What was it like inside the car?
Frederik Vesti: Well it was probably one of the toughest races I've ever done. Both physically, and also definitely with tyre management. I wasn't very quick at the beginning which was actually very frustrating because I just wanted to get to P1. I did my own lines and felt like the others were pushing quite a lot more than I was. I was, let's say, in control of that feeling, so I knew I just had to keep doing what I was doing and save the tyres all the way through the race. I saw Jake and Lirim Zendeli really fighting and using their tyres, and I was happy to see that because I got closer while still saving my tyres. Towards the end it was obviously very difficult, but we had a good pace mid to end race, so I'm very happy to win.
FIA Formula 3: We saw a lot of positions change down into Turn 1. Just how tactical was that race? Were you having to pick you time to try and make a move?
Frederik: Not really to overtake, but I think the most tactical part of the race was the tyre management. Basically, when you got a good exit out of the last corner, and you had good slipstream and DRS, it was definitely possible to overtake. Tyre management was the key to today's victory.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations, well done today. Jake, moving on to you. Second place and you had a great scrap, first with Lirim (Zendeli) and then with Frederik as well. Just how tense was it for you?
Jake Hughes: It was quite intense to be honest. I'm quite annoyed. I felt like I drove a really good race. I felt like our tyre management, considering how much I had to push to try and escape DRS and try and have even a chance into Turn 1... We had to use them up quite a lot, and in the end I was still able to fight with Fred. But to be honest, I had to try every lap with a chance on the outside of Turn 1 with a really do-or-die move, and I never got overtaken into Turn 1. I always got overtaken with DRS, so the deficit I had in a straight line seemed quite lot.
FIA Formula 3: It looked good to watch. There were a lot of positions switching around. Just how tactical did you have to be when you were trying to defend and trying to attack?
Jake: In trying to attack I had to push flat out, especially with Lirim, because just to get anywhere near his gearbox into Turn 1 was a tough job. Then tactical with defence... I mean, again, I just had to push flat out because I never had to fight into Turn 1 to keep my position in the lead. It was always just too easy.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today with second place. Théo, moving on to you. A huge result if we look at the Championship picture. Just how pleased are you with third place today, and getting Lirim late on?
Théo Pourchaire: It was an amazing race for me. I'm super happy with this performance for sure. I started P7 and finished P3. It's really good. The tyre management was the key for sure. I was a bit slower than the others at the beginning, but then at the end I was quite fast and overtook Lirim. To be on the podium today, it's really good. For the Championship as well. The only little problem is Frederik! He won the race, so now he's really close, but it will be interesting tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: If we look at the Championship picture, you're nine points off the lead. Frederik's not quite in the points picture any more. You've been closing on the top two as well, so it's all to play for tomorrow. What's your approach going to be?
Théo: I'll try not to think about the Championship. It's super hard, but I'll try to do a good race with a good start, to take the best result possible. Then, for sure, in the Championship standings I'll be close to the others. Today, I was fighting with Logan (Sargeant), and it was pretty cool. He overtook me, and then I overtook him. I'm not stressed about the Championship. I'll try to think about my weekend, by taking a lot of points.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations, and good luck tomorrow: Frederik, returning to you. As I mentioned, you're actually just out of the Championship picture by half a point, but you're the only driver with more than one Race 1 win. How proud are you of your year?
Frederik: I'm honestly really proud. I think we started the year really strongly, then mid-season we were struggling a lot. I was struggling to adapt to all the new tracks like Silverstone, and then in Barcelona I had a very bad weekend. Qualifying P13 I think and then had to retire in Race 1 and start from the back in Race 2. Looking at how many DNFs I've had this season, and how much I've learned throughout this season, I think with three Race 1 wins and pole position earlier in the year, and fastest laps, we've been doing a good job. For me the goal this season was to develop as a driver, and I think I've succeeded quite well with that. I'm very happy. Tomorrow we go again. We need to do a good job. I don't really care about the Championship at this point. I just want to do some good races and go flat out.