Round 6 in Budapest certainly provided drama from start to finish as the Drivers' Championship battle continued to twist and turn.
CEO Bruno Michel reviews an epic weekend at the Hungaroring and looks ahead to the challenge that awaits teams on the other side of the summer break, with a triple header that will decide the season.
MP MOTORSPORT DOMINATES BUDAPEST
What a stellar round MP Motorsport had in Budapest! The Dutch outfit was top in Qualifying and in both races. First, Alex Smolyar claimed pole position on Friday, before Caio Collet snatched a maiden F3 win in fashion, crossing the line 8.7s ahead of Franco Colapinto, on a drying track, taking his third podium this season. In third place, his teammate Kush Maini collected a first F3 podium finish. In the Feature Race, Smolyar took a lights-to-flag victory, his second rostrum in 2022, as Collet and Maini also classified in the Top 10. With a total of 54 points, MP climbed from fifth to third in the Teams' Standings, seven points behind ART Grand Prix.
ANOTHER NEW FACE ON THE PODIUM
Zane Maloney made his first appearance on a F3 podium, with second place in the Feature Race at the Hungaroring. The driver from Barbados has been quick all season, but until last weekend, he was unable to make it on the rostrum for one reason or another. In a season that’s been quite frustrating for reigning Champions Trident, Maloney gave the Italian team a reason to go into the summer break with a smile. He became the 15th driver to claim a podium in 2022.
IT'S A TIE AT THE TOP
There are three rounds left in the campaign, and it’s a tie at the top of the Drivers’ Standings, with Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins both on 104 points. The rookie from Hitech Grand Prix classifies ahead of the ART Grand Prix driver, who relinquished the top of the Championship for the first time since Round 1. The two men struggled last time out in Budapest, as Hadjar scored seven points while Martins took six. They both had their least successful race weekend in 2022, which is not ideal this close to the end of the Championship. They will be under immense pressure come the final three rounds, with no room for error and no time to breath as the season will conclude with a triple header.
HADJAR AND MARTINS NEED TO LOOK OVER THEIR SHOULDERS
The French duo may be leading in the Drivers Championship, but the PREMA Racing trio of Arthur Leclerc, Jak Crawford and Oliver Bearman are within reach. The Monegasque driver lies nine points behind Hadjar and Martins, while Crawford and Bearman are both on 80 points, just 15 points behind Leclerc. The British rookie of the Italian team scored the most out of his teammates in Budapest, securing 21 points and another podium finish, with third in the Feature Race. As it stands, he is fifth in the championship, but the top 5 could look quite different come the final race in Monza…
A LOOK AT THE TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP
Leading by 102 points over ART Grand Prix, it’s hard to imagine PREMA Racing not returning to the top step in 2022. Of course, to finish first, first you have to finish, but the Italian team has returned to its dominating ways this season. Meanwhile, ART are second on 153 points, ahead of MP Motorsport on 146. Hitech Grand Prix are fourth on 131, two points ahead of Trident. Needless to say, the fight for the top finish places will be enthralling, with ART and Hitech also focusing on the Drivers’ Championship through Martins and Hadjar. There are six races left, all back-to-back on tracks that require tremendous skill and heart. Let’s brace ourselves for what promises to be an epic season finale!