Thoughts from Mini, Bortoleto, and Bedrin
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 3 Sprint Race in here at the Hungaroring. In third, Nikita Bedrin for Jenzer Motorsport, in second place, Gabriel Bortoleto for Trident and taking his second win of the season, our winner Gabriele Mini for Hitech Pulse Eight. Gabriele, what a race, your second win of the season. You had to fight for it?
Gabriele Mini: It wasn't an easy one, I got overtaken right at the start then I just tried to manage the tyres. I was trying to follow and stay in the DRS and still try to use the kerbs and do everything to save the tyres. In the end it paid off, after a few laps I managed to overtake Nikita and then it was all about managing once again because at the end we were running five seconds slower than the beginning. As you can imagine, the deg was really high and it was all about running to the end.
FIA Formula 3: Talk us through the start again, what happened, and how good was Nikita's start?
Mini: My start itself was really good. The jump was really good, but into Turn 1 I broke on my braking point and he did a really good job breaking late. Once you're stuck on the inside you don't want to understeer onto the guy on the outside so I let him by. It was a really good job from him.
FIA Formula 3: And what about your overtake on him on Lap 8?
Mini: I think at that point he understood that it was really not easy to keep me behind because he was struggling a bit with the tyres, so he didn't defend too hard and it was relatively easy with the DRS. The harder part was to follow him for six laps with a less than one second gap.
FIA Formula 3: You've already made a reference to how difficult it was to keep the tyres alive. Talk us through the Safety Car restart with those old tyres.
Mini: To be honest it was really tricky, the amount of graining, marbles, and things on the tyres that were on the tyres that were preventing us from pushing more was a lot. Especially for me, right behind the Safety Car. The Safety Car restart was really tough, I was understeering and oversteering everywhere. In the end I managed to get a good run out of the last corner and keep my position into Turn 1.
FIA Formula 3: It's been a while since Monaco. How sweet is it to be back on the top step?
Mini: Of course, it's been a while, it's nice to win once again. I'd prefer it to be a Feature Race win but still, it's always a win. It's very nice, and well done to my team for putting my car at it's best for the race. We'll try again to score some points tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: Best of luck with that, well done today. Gabriel, coming to you, what a race! You took P2 at the final corner, talk us through that move.
Gabriel Bortoleto: The problem was that when the VSC came out. We've never done a Virtual Safety Car restart this season and as it was the last lap as well, I thought there was no way the race was going to be restarted so I kept a margin to not go over the delta of the Safety Car. Suddenly the team were on the radio saying the Virtual Safety Car was ending and I was like 'what is going on'? When I saw VSC ending I was about three seconds behind him and though I was going to finish P3 but then I started to catch him like crazy and I said maybe we have a chance in the main straight or at the end of the sector. That's what happened, I tried to push him to make a little mistake or go wide, for sure he was struggling with the tyres that's why he did it. I had a little better tyres than him at the end and I managed to make the move.
FIA Formula 3: You say you had slightly better tyres than Nikita but how difficult was it for you to keep your tyres alive during the race?
Bortoleto: It was difficult but at the same time I was quite alone for the whole race so it was all about managing and keeping the car on track not doing anything crazy because I was not fighting with anyone during the race. That's the reason why I had the tyres alive.
FIA Formula 3: Is that something that you've learnt that you can carry to tomorrow's Feature Race?
Bortoleto: To be fair, I learnt that at Red Bull Ring in the Feature Race when everyone was struggling a lot with the graining and degradation. For sure it's something that I would like to keep for tomorrow. Also the pace that we had today, and from what I could see around me I was the fastest car around me, so if we keep this for tomorrow we have a good opportunity to go forwards in the race.
FIA Formula 3: Nikita coming to you now. Far and away your best result in Formula 3. How happy are you right now?
Nikita Bedrin: I'm quite happy. It's not been the best season so far but we've made a lot of progress with the team and with myself as well. I'm quite happy to be on the podium, especially here. I did an ok Qualifying yesterday, I was finally in the top 12. I also had a good lap in Austria but my lap was deleted so I went from P4 to P20, so this is my first experience fighting at the front. It's also different to manage the tyres at the front compared to the back. It was a difficult race, but I'm happy to finish on the podium. I think I've done a good job this race. Maybe I could have done a few things differently in the beginning, like pushing a little bit less.
FIA Formula 3: That of course affected your tyre life, I guess?
Bedrin: I didn't really push much, I was driving with sense. I wasn't sliding anywhere but with how these tyres are and how this track is it was extremely tricky and after Lap 8 it was getting worse and worse with every lap. Especially after the last Safety Car, it was terrible. There was nothing left of them.
FIA Formula 3: Are you sad not to have kept P2 or are you still very satisfied to stay on the podium?
Bedrin: I'm still satisfied that I stayed on the podium. It was quite hard to keep him behind because I knew in the last corner if he was behind me he would get past me because I had absolutely no grip there. I tried my best, I was just a bit annoyed with the Safety Car because at first it was just the VSC and then SC. A podium is a podium and it's by far the best result for me so I'm still happy with it.
FIA Formula 3: As you said earlier, it's the first time you've been fighting with these guys at the front. What is the biggest thing you learnt during the race today?
Bedrin: I learned about this track and about these tyres the most, and how you have to manage them. Usually when you're in the back you're just following one chain and here you had different driving choices you could make. I've learnt how to use the tyres and for tomorrow it will for sure be an improvement.
FIA Formula 3: Well best of luck.