THOUGHTS FROM SMOLYAR, SARGEANT AND POURCHAIRE
FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three qualifiers for Race 1 of this weekend's FIA Formula 3 Championship round in Hungary. We are joined by polesitter Alex Smolyar for ART Grand Prix, in second place is Logan Sargeant for PREMA Racing, and third is Théo Pourchaire, also for ART Grand Prix. Alex, your first pole position in Formula 3, and you were quick all session. How good does it feel?
Alex Smolyar: For me it was the perfect session. I found some pace straight away, which was quite surprising for me because at the last round in the Red Bull Ring I didn't up very well in Race 1. So, before the session my confidence in the rain had dropped a bit. In the end, after three laps, I found some good pace. Basically, I think that if, in a wet session, you find the pace straight away there's even less chance for the people behind you to catch you. I'm really happy to have my first pole. You might not see it in my face! The feeling is huge and I'm really happy with it.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned not having confidence before the session, how difficult was the long wait we had when Qualifying was postponed - knowing that it was going to be wet if you got back out there?
Alex: It was a hard day. First of all, it was dry in the Free Practice, then we cancelled the first qualifying attempt. To be honest with you, if the session had been cancelled and we'd kept the times from FP, I think I'd have been quite okay with that. Before the session I wasn't really confident that I could fight, again, because of last weekend's race. But in the end, if you'd have told me before Qualifying that I would take pole I probably wouldn't have believed you! But we're here, so I'm happy.
FIA Formula 3: Well done. I bet you're glad that we did run it in the end! Logan, moving on to you. You were in the mix through that session as well, trading fastest times near the top. You just didn't manage to find the time on that final lap there. Just talk us through your session.
Logan Sargeant: First of all, I want to thank PREMA. It was a great job all day. We were actually really quick this morning, it just didn't work out for us. We tried to save tyres. Anyway, Qualifying was tricky to be honest. Low grip, and it was tough to put everything together. I think that was the difference in that last lap. I just couldn't quite find the grip that Alex might have found. As a whole, we're getting closer to pole every round - fourth, third, second... So, I'm happy. It's a long run down to Turn 1 tomorrow, so I'm going to be looking to make some moves.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned the pace this morning and going well internally. On the timing screens it was a different story, and there was a chance I guess that it was discussed that it might set the grid. Were you worried when you had the long wait before the session?
Logan: To be honest, after the cancellation of Quali, my heart rate was around 200 bpm! In the end, I knew that we needed a Qualifying session. No matter what, we needed it. Very badly. I was really relieved to hear that it was going ahead. I was extremely confident. I'm always confident in the wet, so I was happy.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations, well done today. Théo, moving on to you. It was a long wait for everybody, but a good competitive session. Are you satisfied to be starting so far up the grid?
Théo Pourchaire: Yeah, I'm super happy. P3 is an amazing job. I want to thank all the team at ART Grand Prix, and the Sauber Academy. With the win last weekend, my first win, and now P3 in Qualifying... it's super!
FIA Formula 3: We've seen a real improvement from you in Qualifying at each race. What would you put that down to?
Théo: Yeah. First race was P20, then the second race was P5 and now it’s P3. Maybe it will be pole next time in Silverstone! I hope so! I try to improve myself every day, and at every race weekend, so I'm quite happy with that.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations, well done today. Alex, just returning to you. Tomorrow will be your first pole position start in F3 this season. It's quite a tricky run down to Turn 1, but it's also a tricky track to overtake on as well. Are you hopeful that it could all be won or lost at the start?
Alex: Well, my first front row start at the Red Bull Ring didn't end up well, but I have experience from here last year with Formula Renault. I started from the first row, so I have experience. Maybe even a bit more than some others from the point of starting down to the first corner. I think there's a lot of opportunities to overtake in Turn 1 and Turn 2 as well. We'll see how it goes. The plan is to be as fast as I can and to pull away from everyone, but we all know that it's racing, and somethings might not go your way. I think this track is quite forgiving for overtakes at the start, so we'll see how it goes, but I'm quite confident for the start.