Championship leader Dennis Hauger was keen to play down the implications of his lowest-scoring round of the season so far, pointing out that those around him have all suffered from off-weekends themselves this year.
The Norwegian entered the weekend with a 63-point advantage but departed just 25 points ahead of Jack Doohan, who took pole and won twice.
With seven podiums, including three wins, Hauger has been supremely consistent so far this season, but qualified out of the top 10 for the first time in Spa, finishing 14th. He then got stuck behind Doohan in Race 1, which led to his first pointless finish since the opening round of the season.
“Trident had a really good car this weekend and he (Jack Doohan) managed to maximise everything,” said Hauger. “He has had some bad races before, though, and I have just had a bad weekend. I will keep focused because I think we’ve got the pace to beat him. We are still leading so we just have to stay calm.
“Spa is quite special, especially in the rain, with the low downforce. We’ll just have to sit down and work things out. We will reset a bit and refocus on what we have to do. We haven’t lost any pace, we just have to regain the momentum that we had before.”
It was a difficult weekend all-round for PREMA, with all three of their drivers qualifying out of the top 10 for the first time in Formula 3.
The team appeared to find some pace on Sunday, with Hauger making up six places to eighth and minimising the damage to his title bid. Arthur Leclerc and Olli Caldwell also moved up from 18th and 13th to 10th and 11th respectively.
“It was a tough weekend for us overall,” continued Hauger. “We struggled quite a bit and were a bit lost during Qualifying and Races 1 and 2, but we were a bit more together in Race 3. We found something decent, and we could charge through the field a bit.”
Getting up to eighth, Hauger’s finish could have been even higher were it not for some determined defensive work from Doohan’s Trident teammate, David Schumacher. The German held off Hauger for several laps and the Red Bull junior was then unable to catch Logan Sargeant by the time he eventually got past on Lap 10.
“When you are leading the Championship, no one wants to give you anything for free,” said Hauger. “It was quite hard to get up there and what could have been is a good question, but we just have to focus on what we can and prepare for the next week.
“It was a tough one, but we learned a few things from the weekend, and we will now have to reset and take everything we can into Zandvoort.”