Thoughts from Smolyar, Maloney & Bearman
FIA Formula 3: Alexander Smolyar, winner of today's FIA Formula 3 Feature Race at the Hungaroring. It looked like quite a tough race on a drying track. How was it from the car?
Alexander Smolyar: Even though the gap from Lap 1 was quite big, I still knew what was going on as my engineer was telling me the gaps every lap. In the beginning, I was trying to be really quick so the gap was getting bigger and bigger, and I was quite comfortable. Then I realised that we were going to finish on a dry track, so there was no reason to push so much, so I tried to be on the same pace as the people behind. Mid-race I was just trying to save the tyres, although the set-up was very, very good for these kinds of conditions. My front left didn't feel really good, I almost went straight in the last corner but still happy with the win for sure.
FIA Formula 3: How worried were you that this win would slip away from your hands today?
Smolyar: I was very scared in Turn 2, we arrived before breaking and we were three-wide. There are not really a lot of things going on in your head when you're in these kinds of situations, but I was trying to keep my place. Happily, everyone in the was smart in this situation. No one took too much risk. The first lap was tricky, I was quite nervous but then the rest of the race was quite smooth.
FIA Formula 3: It's a double win for MP Motorsport this weekend, with Caio Collet winning the Sprint Race yesterday. What does this weekend mean to you and the team?
Smolyar: It was great. It's a big step considering last year, and MP didn't have the results. Not even close to what we had this year. I'm really happy that in Qualifying it was really hot. We managed to find the right pressure and we took a really, really big step forward compared to last year. For sure, Caio and Kush being on the podium yesterday and me winning today is a big result and I just hope we bring all the knowledge we gain from this weekend to Spa.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much, congratulations. Zane Maloney P2 in today’s FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at the Hungaroring, a podium that seemed to be hard-earned. How was it from inside the car?
Zane Maloney: It was very difficult. We got quite a good start, similar to Alex to be honest and then into Turn 1 I tried to go wide and get a cutback, but he was wise to it. Then in Turn 2 we were three-wide and I didn't want to end another race, so I backed off. Then for the rest of the race, it was just about saving the tyre. I didn't quite have the pace of Alex, but I was able to keep up a decent pace and you finish P2.
FIA Formula 3: How difficult was it to defend from Ollie behind you?
Maloney: Well, for 20 laps he was right there! I think I was a bit quicker in Sector 2, which allowed me to make a little bit of a gap, but then he caught me back in Sector 3. Obviously, at this track, it's only really Turn 1 and Turn 2 that you can do anything. So, it was comfortable until the last lap when the fronts were just completely finished, and I went off a bit in the last corner. It was very close, but we were able to come through P2.
FIA Formula 3: You're running in P2 and then you see the track drying up very quickly, were there any moments during the race where you were thinking 'do I jeopardize this and go back for slicks' or not?
Maloney: No, not when you're at the front because a pit stop in Formula 3 is not like F1, so we’d lose a lot of time and I don't think you can make up the gap. Of course, when you see the track fully dry on Lap 10 with 15 more laps to go, it's not nice. You really have to save the tyre as much as possible and to be honest, I think if there were three more laps, we all would have had punctures. So, it was a difficult race.
FIA Formula 3: What does that podium mean to you and Trident, going into the summer break?
Maloney: It means a lot. We've had a bit of a disaster of a year both me, and as a team, and we just need to keep trying to score those points from now on. We’ve had the pace all year so it’s a bit disappointing, but at least I can give them something this weekend and we can move on after the summer break and hopefully, those wins come.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much good job today, thanks a lot. Oliver Bearman, another P3 in Formula 3 this season, but this time it’s in the Feature Race at the Hungaroring, it’s good points, it's a podium, how are you feeling right now?
Oliver Bearman: It's another P3, another race where I cross the line like less than a tenth from finishing P2. I had the same in Silverstone. So super close, but happy to get good points. It was a really difficult race starting fully wet, but the track was much drier than yesterday to start with and then by the last half of the race it was almost completely dry everywhere. It was really tough to find areas to cool the tyres. By the end, I think no one had any tread left, those last three laps when we were giving it everything was really difficult. So yeah, I’m happy to take P3.
FIA Formula 3: You were putting a lot of pressure on Zane Maloney ahead of you. Was there anything that you could have done better to get P2 today?
Bearman: I tried to keep a lot of pressure on from the start. I don't think that was the best strategy because I saw behind me Jak was holding back at the start and then he had a lot of pace in the middle phase of the race. I think maybe a different approach would have helped me to maybe finish P2, but in the end, he defended well and it's really difficult to overtake anyway. I just had that one real look into the exit of the last corner, but it wasn't enough.
FIA Formula 3: Still a good result, especially going into the summer break. Would you say that’s a little bit of a confidence boost for the final three rounds of the season?
Bearman: Yeah, I'm happy because yesterday I struggled a bit with the pace. It was a tough race. I took home a good result, but it was only because of the incidents ahead that I finished P5. I made a big step forward from yesterday, which was the main focus of today. I'm happy I could get two wet races in a row to get on top of the wet driving because it's quite difficult and this wet tyre is quite different to any wet tyre I've driven before. So, quite happy with that and yeah it gives me good confidence for the rest of the season.
FIA Formula 3: Good job today Ollie.