Thoughts from Leclerc, Hauger and Martins
Congratulations to the top three finishers for Race 2 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at Paul Ricard! In third place Victor Martins for MP Motorsport, in second place Dennis Hauger for PREMA and taking his first victory in Formula 3, in what will be closest he'll get to a home race this year, our winner, Arthur Leclerc also for PREMA. Arthur, what a day it's been for you, how do you sum it all up?
Arthur Leclerc: In the beginning this morning I went with my mind, I said I have to maximise all the opportunities that I get and focus on my job. We knew we had the pace straight away from Free Practice, but in Qualifying I was a bit unfortunate. It was a really good recovery this morning, to be honest I didn't expect to come back from so far back on the grid and we made it to P1 this afternoon.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us about Race 2, it looked to run very smoothly from where we were watching, how was it for you in the cockpit?
Leclerc: The start was quite good, so I was quite happy, then the first part of the race I struggled a little with pace, and to put a gap between me and Dennis. Then after that I was just focused on improving corner by corner to make the difference at the end. I was able to put a gap and to manage my tyres well, so yeah quite a good race.
FIA Formula 3: And for much of that race it was a PREMA one-two-three, it seems you guys have hit on a very good set up for this place, would you agree?
Leclerc: For sure, the car has been very strong for the whole weekend. The pace was really good, now my weak point is to work on Qualifying. We know that the car is really good, the team is really good, and I have the pace. Now we just need to put it all together to get a better weekend.
FIA Formula 3: Well done Arthur, many congratulations to you. Dennis, many congratulations to you as well, you drove an excellent race from P4 on the grid to P2. How much pleasure does this give you?
Dennis Hauger: For sure after Race 1 we had to bounce back it. We sort of had the pace, but we had a few things to work on. It was nice to get on the podium today, and I think that it's good to be on the podium before we go into Race 3 tomorrow, where I'm starting P2. I think we have the pace to win so we just have to focus at where we're at now, and also look ahead.
FIA Formula 3: Can I ask you about the start in Race 2, because Jak Crawford stalled just in front of you, it must have been close?
Hauger: You’re really focused on getting the maximum after the start and having a car stop straight in front of you is not that easy, but I managed to get out of the situation and then the start itself was pretty good fighting with Caldwell for P2 into Turn 1. But yeah, I didn't expect that obviously at the start.
FIA Formula 3: Hotter track conditions this afternoon, how did the tyres hold up for the duration of the race?
Hauger: Most of the drivers were on new tyres, and I was on a used set from Qualifying so I wasn't shocked that they were pulling a bit of a gap in the beginning but when everything started to settle down, I started getting a rhythm, got some momentum and got past Olli. It was sort of the same situation as Race 1, you had to be a bit careful, obviously I was not in the mix of the pack as I was in Race 1 so I could manage them more.
FIA Formula 3: Well done Dennis. Victor coming to you, you've had another excellent race P11 on the grid to P3 you're the overtaking king of Paul Ricard, talk us through this one?
Victor Martins: I just wanted to stay with the same mindset as before this race; to look in front, to push from the beginning, to get a good start and then as soon as I saw an opportunity to go for it without taking too many risks. I wanted to get the overtake done and then think about the next one. I managed to do that in Race 2 just like in Race 1, and I had a great car again to do that. I thank the team for that. I'm just enjoying driving here and having fun with the battles.
FIA Formula 3: And was the podium always achievable in your mind after how good the car had been in Race 1?
Martins: I think at some point I almost had fifteen laps with no DRS, and I had the three PREMAs in front who had DRS so it was quite tricky for me to catch them. I pushed quite hard because at some point I needed to recover at least one and half seconds, but I just tried to stay calm. At some point I said maybe I'm going to let Doohan pass to see if he could catch them, but I wanted to stay in front. So, I stayed calm taking it lap by lap and at the end I saw Caldwell was struggling a lot and as I said, I saw the opportunity and I went for it. I created a gap, and I think he didn't have DRS, so I secured another podium so I'm really proud.
FIA Formula 3: Well done to all three drivers!