Thoughts from Doohan, Hauger and Collet
FIA Formula 3: Many congratulations to the top three finishers for Race 3 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at Paul Ricard. In third place, Caio Collet for MP Motorsport, in second place, Dennis Hauger for PREMA Racing, and taking his first win in Formula 3, our winner, Jack Doohan for Trident. Many congratulations Jack, your first win in Formula 3, you looked very pumped when you first got out of the car, can you just describe what this means to you?
Jack Doohan: It means everything. I haven't had a win in over a year, so I am very happy to take this win and very thankful for the opportunity that Trident gave me to race with them this year. Last year was very, very tough. I scored no points at all and that took a big toll on the mental side of things, on my confidence. Questioning whether I did have talent or not, or if I was just wasting my time. It is a hefty amount of money to do all this and a huge sacrifice, but I am very thankful to everyone. My parents, the team, my trainer, everyone for giving me this opportunity. My engineer is an absolute genius and got the setup perfect for the race. I was able to do the work and I was so happy to see all of the hard work pay off.
FIA Formula 3: At what point in the race did you think 'this win is on?'
Doohan: I had to start saving quite early because the rain stopped, and the wet tyres overheat really easily. I could see Dennis starting to struggle a lot midway through the race and once I got past Frederik Vesti, I could see that I was catching Dennis. It was the last nine to seven laps and I was managing to catch Dennis and I knew that if I pushed, I could overtake. Once I got past him, he suddenly had pace again though, which I did not expect and that caught me out.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us about the pressure from Dennis at the end?
Doohan: All I was thinking was that he was saving and that it was all part of his plan, that I was going to get past, and he was going to come back. He was really strong in the chicane and gaining three to four car lengths on me and I thought that maybe I had lost the win. I stayed clean, tried not to stress the tyre too much and he tried to push to come back. We were both struggling a bit by that stage of the race, so I remained cool and tried to limit the mistakes. On the second last lap at Turn 11, I had a bit of a moment and Dennis tried to have a crack going into Turn 12. But I knew that if I drove clean, then it would be okay.
FIA Formula 3: Jack, you are up to third in the Championship standings now, can this win be the launchpad into a Championship challenge?
Doohan: I hope so. Race 1 and Race 2 in Barcelona hurt us quite a lot, but since then we have been consistent. Getting good points is what you need with this format. I am really happy to get this win, the 25 points help tremendously. Now, it is just about not focusing on the Championship, but taking it race by race.
FIA Formula 3: Great stuff, thank you, Jack. Dennis, coming to you now. You led this race for so long. How do you feel afterwards, coming home P2?
Dennis Hauger: The start was really good, and the first 10 laps were quite alright, trying to manage, trying to keep them clean. I could feel the rears quite early on, starting to struggle a bit. I saw that I had a gap, but I was just trying to keep it. I saw Jack having good pace further back and I tried to push the gap a bit more, but there was not much to work with, so once he got past, I tried to get the tyres back a bit. Somehow, I got them back and was able to stay with him for a couple of laps, but then I started to struggle again. It was not the easiest race, but overall, really good points in the Championship. That is what the weekend was all about, trying to get as many points as possible while learning from Barcelona Race 2. Not risking too much and getting points for the Championship.
FIA Formula 3: Can you tell us a little bit more about the start because you made a very rapid getaway from P2 to take the lead of the race. How difficult is it to get these Formula 3 cars off the line in wet conditions?
Hauger: It is not easy to get a good start here. I think the teams all have different procedures for it, but I just tried to keep my head calm and I got a really good initial launch from Vesti and just tried to control the wheel spin from there.
FIA Formula 3: Great stuff, well done Dennis. Caio, coming to you. A great race, your second podium of the season. How pleased are you with how things went today?
Caio Collet: I think that it was a really good race. Me and the team both needed that after yesterday, which was one of the toughest days of my career so far. To bounce back with a podium is really good, both for me and for the team, so it is a nice day.
FIA Formula 3: Can you tell us about your move on your teammate Victor Martins at the final corner?
Collet: I knew that he was struggling with the tyres a bit and that he was not going to risk anything. We both respect each other a lot and I knew that he would not do anything stupid, and neither would I, so I just went on the inside and took a safe move. After that, I tried to catch Dennis and Jack, but my tyres were overheating quite a bit, so I had to manage them. It was a tough race, but a really nice one.
FIA Formula 3: Apart from the tyres overheating maybe, but how good has the car been this weekend? Do you think you can translate this performance into more podiums at the next race?
Collet: Definitely. I think in Free Practice, we were on the pace straight away from the first push. Qualifying in the top five, I don't think I did a very good job with my second set, but still got in the top five, fighting for pole. Yesterday was a really bad day, but today we could bounce back. I am really motivated for Red Bull Ring in two weeks.