Victor Martins says he went to see David Schumacher and apologised for causing the collision that denied the Trident driver of second-place and earned the Frenchman a 10s time penalty, in a frank admission following Race 3, with the MP Motorsport driver adding that he’s determined to learn from the mistake.
After winning Race 2 and moving up to third in the standings, Martins’ weekend ended on a sour note as he collided with Schumacher in a battle for second with just three laps to go, a collision that ended the German’s race and put Martins back to 10th after a time penalty.
It was a sobering experience for the Frenchman, who accepted full responsibility and admitted that “sometimes I want to win too much,” in an honest post-race interview.
“I feel really sorry for him (David Schumacher) and his team, and for the fans as well because that’s not what anyone wants to see,” said Martins. “It isn’t what he deserved, or me. I’ve said sorry to the team (MP Motorsport). HIGHLIGHTS: Hauger takes lights-to-flag win in Race 3 at Zandvoort
“I debriefed with the team to complete the weekend, but I didn’t want to leave without going to see David (Schumacher). I would have felt even sadder if I hadn’t, so I went to see him and apologised. I told him that it was fully my mistake and that I hoped in Sochi he would be able to score the points that he couldn’t this weekend.
“It’s a pretty low moment during my season, but it is time to go away and analyse why I did that so that I don’t do it again.”
Fresh from his first win of the season, Martins spent the final race of the weekend in the rear-view mirror of Schumacher but was unable to find a way past the Trident around the 4.259km circuit.
The Frenchman momentarily gave up on his pursuit and was ready to settle for third before sensing a late opportunity in the closing laps. But the move didn’t come off and he ended up clipping the Trident and spinning him off track.
“I knew that I had the pace,” said Martins, recalling the failed manoeuvre. “I was pushing a lot for 20 laps, really trying to put pressure on him to make him make a mistake. He did make some mistakes at some points, but he was good in the final corners, and I didn’t have the opportunity to try anything.
“In the middle of the race, I said to myself that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to try something. But then David was starting to make some mistakes at the end and the ambition to pass him again came back.
“On the lap before I made the move, I analysed the line that he was taking going into the banking and what he was doing and decided to try and make a move on the next lap because he was taking a wide line.
“I wanted to show myself on the inside, to show him that I was there and surprise him, but I didn’t make the second gear, so I couldn’t slow down the car and then I touched him.”
Falling to fourth in the standings, tied on points with Frederik Vesti, but ahead of countback, Martins’ mistake handed a podium spot to Clément Novalak, who is now ahead of him in the Championship.
Still in his rookie season of F3, Martins feels that he can use the experience to make him a better driver.
“I want to analyse why I went for that move in the end,” explained Martins. “Sometimes I want to win too much. I want to win everything, and you cannot. I want to understand why that is and I want to make sure that I don’t make the same mistake again. Maybe I need to think twice or maybe even more to do a move.
“I didn’t think about the championship and maybe I should have today because if I had finished P3 then I would have been P3 in the championship and only 17 points behind (Jack) Doohan.
“We need to still push and take the positives from what I have done this weekend. I am sure in Sochi we will be able to score the points that I missed out on in Race 3.”