Thoughts from Smolyar, Hauger and Martins
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of Race of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at Sochi Autodrom. In third place, Victor Martins for MP Motorsport, in second place, Dennis Hauger for PREMA Racing and taking his first win of 2021, our winner Logan Sargeant for Charouz Racing System. Logan, behind that mask, I'm sure this victory has put a huge smile on your face. How good does it feel?
Logan Sargeant: We've been working towards it all year, so it definitely feels really good. It was sort of slipping away those last few laps, I saw Dennis coming really quickly so I was really happy knowing I was on the last lap and was able to hold on to it. I'm so happy for the team, they put in so much hard work to keep improving the car and we seem to be doing so.
FIA Formula 3: Looking at your own journey this year, you really had to fight to get on the grid does that make this win that much sweeter?
Sargeant: As I said, I more came into this season to help the team. I didn't necessarily have to do it after the season I had last year, but it was good to keep me active and as I said, to move them forward. Hopefully next year they can get a solid lineup to keep that progress going.
FIA Formula 3: Talk us through that opening lap, the start and the run through Turn 3 when you took the lead?
Sargeant: I didn't really have a particularly great start, it was pretty average. As Victor mentioned earlier, the slipstream down to Turn 2 is extremely effective, and I was on the outside and was confident on the brakes so I was able to get the lead there. Then again we were side by side all the way through the long left so that was eventful. I was glad to hang onto there and then we had a pretty solid pace for the first half of the race. We started to slip away at the end but we'll look at that and fix it.
FIA Formula 3: Just a quick question on visibility as the sun got low, how bad was it?
Sargeant: Some places it was pretty bad, some places it wasn't too bad at all. Luckily I didn't have to look in my mirrors too much, but there were some corners you couldn't even see the brake boards so it was about a bit of guessing really.
FIA Formula 3: Many congratulations on the win Logan. Dennis, huge congratulations to you on your ninth podium of the season, and of course, you are the new FIA Formula 3 Champion. We'll come on to that later, but looking at your race. For a man with the title at stake, you fought hard today?
Dennis Hauger: I feel like I didn't take any unnecessary risks per se, but I felt I had a decent pace. I think from Qualifying where we weren't the strongest I think we made some changes in the right direction and the pace was there. When you see a gap you have to go for it right? So it was good fun and I enjoyed racing around here, it was really cool. A few positions up and happy about it.
FIA Formula 3: Talk us through that final lap, you got very close to Logan into Turn 13. How serious were you about sealing this title with a victory?
Hauger: It would have been a nice way to get the Championship obviously but I think also, in the beginning, fighting Crawford and then getting up to Victor and having a good battle with him. From then on I was really focused on trying to move forward but Victor was staying quite close and I had to half-defend a bit and keep it clean. When the VSC ended I got some space, and I managed to get a good rhythm and into that last lap it was close. I finally got the DRS, it was a shame it was on the last lap but otherwise happy about the second. I think I've never been that happy about a second-place before!
FIA Formula 3: Many congratulations to you. Victor, well done on another podium, your sixth of the season so far. Talk us through those early moments in the race?
Victor Martins: I didn't have a bad start, to be honest. Then the way to Turn 2 is quite long so I knew I would be in a position to defend my place. I was inside but Logan was already a bit in front, I took the brake and saw he was still there. I didn't want to brake late or to lock up and go into him so I kept it clean and then I knew I could have another chance into Turn 3. To Turn 4 I was around the outside, it was possible, but at some point, I saw that it was going to be difficult to keep it clean. Then I was in P2, and I was struggling a bit to be honest because Logan had good pace and Dennis was coming so I tried to look forward. To not take big risks, to keep it clean, to have some fun. I am still happy with P3, I fought hard for it. The car was quite good from the middle of the race to the end. With the VSC I don't know, I want to see how I lost such a gap in two seconds, but it still feels good.
FIA Formula 3: How were the tyres over the 20 laps?
Martins: To be honest they were quite good because I was taking care of them at the beginning. Then when Dennis overtook me with the DRS I could stay, not easily, but comfortably behind him. Maybe I knew that at some point at the end of the race if I was staying in the DRS I could have another opportunity, but as I said with the VSC, I couldn't stay close to him and I had to defend to the others behind who has DRS. I wasn't really in a position to push hard on the tyres.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you Victor and well done to you too.