Thoughts from Smolyar, Maloney and Bearman
FIA Formula 3: A very warm welcome to the top three qualifiers for the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at the Hungaroring. In third place is Oliver Berman for PREMA Racing, in second place, Zane Maloney for Trident and on pole position Alexander Smolyar for MP Motorsport. Now, very well-done Alex a difficult session to navigate with the Red Flag but you came out on top. How tricky was it out there today?
Alexander Smolyar: We had basically three laps in Qualifying. I went over the track limit on my first push lap, so I didn't set any time, and then I tried to risk on the second push to give it all. It was quite a decent lap and then I saw the Red Flag and I knew some people were still pushing while I was warming up the tyres so I thought that maybe it would be good for me. Then still I had to do the lap and I didn't give up. I still put everything on the table on my last lap and managed to improve and secure the pole.
FIA Formula 3: It was a great lap. How good was the car today?
Smolyar: It was very good. We had a different approach. Since Free Practice we tried some stuff and everyone in the team can see that it works quite well. It's a bit tricky to drive, I would say, but if you focus just on one lap in quali, it's a quick car.
FIA Formula 3: Good points for you in Austria, but we haven't seen you on the podium since the first race of the season. How much do you want this win on Sunday?
Smolyar: I want it a lot, so I also wanted my first dry pole. The first pole I took was here in the wet, but now also on dry so it feels good. I hope we can finally be quite stable, on the podium or winning the race.
FIA Formula 3: Alright, best of luck with that. Now Zane, coming to you, a great final effort by you this afternoon. Well done. How tough was it to nail a lap in those final three minutes of the session?
Zane Maloney: Yeah, it was very difficult. We had the three sets. The first set for me was quite good, but on the second set, I had a small issue and the car upshifted when it wasn't meant to. So obviously, P15 after the second set, it was very nerve-wracking when the Red Flag came out, not knowing if we were going to get another lap, but of course, we did, and I was able to get P2.
FIA Formula 3: How was traffic at the end there for you?
Maloney: Yeah, it was very difficult. I was first gear with the clutch in for about 30 seconds so the team did a great job of sending us out and we had a good track position. Sector 1 wasn't amazing because of having to stop in the last sector, but I made up for it in Sectors 2 and 3.
FIA Formula 3: Throwing it forward to the Feature Race. How do you fancy your chances of beating Alex?
Maloney: It's going to be very close. Of course, it’s very difficult to overtake, but for me, it's just about getting results. We've had the pace all year, but zero results to show, so for me it's just about having a good Sprint Race and having a clean Sprint Race and Feature Race as well. Just bringing it home wherever we can.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done today. Oliver coming to you. Great to see you in the top three, but can we start by talking about those closing three minutes of the session? At what point did you realise you weren't going to make a lap?
Oliver Bearman: I knew from the beginning that it would be tight considering where we left the pits. There were a lot of cars ahead and they always bunch up in Sector 3. My engineer was giving me kind of a live countdown throughout the lap, so I knew how fast to go, but in the end, I wasn't able to make it. It was a bit unfortunate; I probably could have made it by overtaking some guys, but then I would have ended up right in the dirty air and I probably wouldn’t have been able to improve.
FIA Formula 3: Well, you say you probably wouldn't have been able to improve because of the traffic, but was there more time in the car compared to the lap you managed to do before the break?
Bearman: I think a lot of people improved after the Red Flag, also I think I was driving better. Of course, near the end of the session, there's also less fuel in the car. Maybe there was a better lap left on the table, but we'll never get to see now.
FIA Formula 3: It's tight and twisty here at the Hungaroring, overtaking on Sunday?
Bearman: I'll give it a go. It should be quite difficult; I’ve just got to wait for the train to break apart. I'm not sure if it will happen, but that will be the only opportunity. I just want to bring home some solid points.
FIA Formula 3: Best of luck with that. Thank you very much to all of you.