Thoughts from Hadjar, Martins and Bearman
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race in Spielberg. In third place Oliver Bearman for PREMA Racing, in second, Victor Martins for ART Grand Prix, and taking his third win of the season Isack Hadjar for Hitech Grand Prix. Isack, a dominant win here at the Red Bull Ring for Round 5 of the 2022 FIA Formula 3 campaign. How are you feeling right now?
Isack Hadjar: Over the moon! We clearly reduced the gap in the Championship points, and we came back on Victor. That was the goal of the weekend and I think it's my best weekend so far. We took our first Feature Race win; it feels better than the Sprint Race and the first pole position, so plenty of points.
FIA Formula 3: Let's talk about the race. Obviously, the track conditions were very tricky as it was wet. You managed to build up a gap and then it was reduced by a Safety Car period. How is it from the car?
Hadjar: It was quite stressful On the first two laps already. I wasn't that confident in the wet because, in Free Practice, we didn't look strong at all. I think we made some really good improvements. Victor was putting a lot of pressure on me and at some point, he was struggling a bit more with the tyres and I was pulling away. Also, we got the fastest lap point, so that’s really good. Really important. I just managed the gap towards the end.
FIA Formula 3: Coming into the weekend, were you hopeful that you could achieve such a result here with pole position and the Feature Race win?
Hadjar: I knew we were going to be competitive, but the Red Bull Ring is such a small track that everyone is just so close lap time-wise. I think we also got lucky with that pole position, but I think the pace was definitely here and today we were the quickest on track. I didn't expect to be that fast in the wet, to be honest, but I think I really drove well and the car was there.
FIA Formula 3: Looking forward, next up is Budapest in three weeks' time. What are you going to do in the meantime and how are you going to prepare for it?
Hadjar: Obviously it's been a back-to-back race weekend, so I’m a bit tired so I'm going to chill a bit for that next weekend, then go back to work with the team at Red Bull and Hitech. Big preparation ahead.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much and congratulations for this weekend. Victor, coming to you, P2 in today's FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at the Red Bull Ring. It's another podium finish and some strong points but are you a little bit disappointed by it?
Victor Martins: No, no I'm not because after Silverstone we were struggling a bit with the car and with pace also. So, we wanted to come back at the top and get at least 20 points over the weekend to be in the fight for the Championship. To be honest we did well, straight from Qualifying we were there. I think for sure we had the pace for pole without that red flag, but in the end, it was tricky conditions. Today we were really fast, at the beginning I was putting a lot of pressure on Isack but then I just didn't have the pace to keep up with him. He was quite fast, and he was pulling away. I knew I had to take points. I wanted to win also, but I was just managing my P2 and getting those 18 points which are really important.
FIA Formula 3: How tricky were the conditions out there, because it rained at the beginning, stopped, and rained again. How was it?
Martins: It was quite challenging, to be honest. On the installation lap, from Turn 1 to Turn 3 with the new tarmac there was a lot of aquaplaning. I was not able to keep it flat and I was like am I alone in experiencing these kinds of things. I was not very confident, and I was asking my engineer if other people were reporting that same feeling and he couldn't answer, so I was not fully confident for that first lap. Then in the end, when I saw everyone was struggling like me with the visibility I just tried to push. After that, it improved lap after lap, and there was no rain at some point, just a little bit of spray. We were creating a drier line and we were driving every time on the same line, so it was a wet race which was improving every lap.
FIA Formula 3: You said earlier that this weekend was an improvement on what happened in Silverstone for you. Do you see more improvement to come for the next round in Budapest?
Martins: Yes, because we knew from Free Practice to Qualifying this weekend what changes we needed to make if we were struggling in Free Practice. So, we know in which direction to go. We know what our weakness is with the car, with me, to help us prepare for Qualifying where I need to do a good lap and improve also on the driving sometimes. So, I’m quite confident. Also, ART has been really strong in Budapest. They have won many races in the past and they have also had a pole position. So, I'm quite confident that I will have a competitive car and I will be able to make the most out of the car.
FIA Formula 3: Well, thank you. Victor, well done today. Oliver, coming to you, P3 in today's FIA Formula 3 Feature Race at the Red Bull Ring. It’s another podium, it's been an eventful race. Quite challenging with the track conditions. Are you satisfied with the result today?
Oliver Bearman: To be honest, I'm quite happy, for my first wet race. Some super difficult conditions as you said, especially at the start with the rain. I'm really surprised that the Safety Car was in after so few laps because I think we all had problems with aquaplaning, especially between T1 and T3. It was super difficult. The track was drying, which was also tough to manage their tyre and all of us were having to cool them down on the wet parts. But it was a really fun race actually.
FIA Formula 3: It’s another P3, what will it take for you to go one or two steps higher?
Bearman: I think a dry race would have been really nice today. I had really strong pace yesterday, despite the incident with the others. It's obviously super difficult to get close to the guy ahead because of his ability, and then with no DRS and the smaller slipstream, it’s a lot more difficult to catch and pass in the wet. A dry race would have been nice, but now looking forward to Budapest I think we can build on this weekend.
FIA Formula 3: Today was another strong points haul for PREMA Racing, why do you think they are still dominating the Championship?
Bearman: I think the work ethic and the dedication of all the team members really shows and it shows in the results as well. We’ve just been working together really well, always improving since the start of the season, the drivers and the setup. I think been really strong so far, even in the wet, so it's been a good first half of the season. Let’s keep pushing for the second half.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much and well done today.