Thoughts from Hadjar, Bearman and Smolyar
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of the Sprint Race of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at the Bahrain International Circuit. Finishing in third place Alexander Smolyar for MP Motorsport, in second place, Oliver Bearman for PREMA Racing and taking his first win in FIA Formula 3, Isacak Hadjar, for Hitech Grand Prix. Isack, very well done. Victory on your debut in Formula 3. How sweet does it feel to start your campaign like this?
Isack Hadjar: It feels very nice. I think it's a shame that we didn't get the win on track, but we definitely had the pace to win if we didn't have those fights in the early stages of the race. It's a good start to the season for sure.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us a little more about those fights in the early stages, it looked intense?
Hadjar: Yeah, I got hit at the back on the very first corner so I was scared I had a puncture, but the car felt fine. Then later on that lap, I got hit again so it was quite annoying at some points. But still, the car was ok and I was attacking for third place on David Vidales on the first corner, then I got overtaken back by Zane Maloney and Vidales on the straight. It was quite a shame.
FIA Formula 3: Isack how much confidence does this give you going forwards?
Hadjar: Quite a lot because I got back to P5 at some point and still managed to go back to P2, so that means we have serious pace and tomorrow from eighth I think that gives me quite a lot of confidence to gain a lot of places.
FIA Formula 3: Many congratulations to you. Oliver, coming to you now. You took the lead early in the race and did everything right, except for the track limits infringement, a bittersweet moment for you. How do you feel?
Oliver Bearman: Yeah I mean I didn't actually find out about the track limits thing until after the race, so that was a bit of a shame. Anyway, I'm still quite happy with the result. We had a good pace. I made a decent start and managed to pass on track into the lead. Then after that, it was just managing the tyres and doing the distance. Bit unfortunate to get the penalty, but still, we've shown we can win on the track, and we just need to iron out those mistakes.
FIA Formula 3: How much confidence does this result, and the pace that you showed today, give you?
Bearman: I think the tyre situation we had was a bit of a gamble, but still, it paid off. Now we're in a good position for tomorrow. Starting a bit further back, so it's going to be tough, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
FIA Formula 3: Well done, thank you, Oliver. Alex, coming to you, fifth on the grid to third is a strong race by you. Are you happy to kick off your Championship campaign like that?
Alexander Smolyar: For sure, I can say I'm quite happy with the race. My strategy was to be very aggressive in the beginning because I had a lot of rookies around me. It's the first race of the season, so I was expecting them to be at least in the first laps a bit uncomfortable. Then I got pushed off the track twice, so these rookies were not so uncomfortable in the end, even though it was the first race. There were some mistakes though, it's very rare you're able to do a perfect race. So we have something to learn for tomorrow, we will happily do so and we'll focus on gaining points tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: What about car set-up? The pace of the car?
Smolyar: Pace in the car is good, both qualifying and race. We did quite a lot of long runs at testing and in the end, we managed to make the car quite good and I think it showed today. For sure we need to do some tweaks on the car but it's pretty much already a ready set-up.
FIA Formula 3: Well done Alex.