Thoughts from Leclerc, Sargeant & Iwasa
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of Race 1 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship here at Zandvoort. In third place, Ayumu Iwasa for Hitech Grand Prix, in second place, Logan Sargeant for Charouz Racing System, and taking his second win of the season, Arthur Leclerc for PREMA Racing. Arthur, what a fantastic race by you, pressure all the way, was that one of your best wins?
Arthur Leclerc: It definitely was not easy. I'm really happy with the result, but then there are some things that I need to work on still. The balance was not perfect I have to say, but it was enough to win so I'm just really happy about the result but there is still some more to do behind.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us about the start, third to first, around the outside?
Leclerc: The start was quite good, then it was just about braking as late as possible. I think there was three of us side-by-side so I just had to manage what Logan was doing on the inside. I didn't want to have any contact, I just wanted to maximize the opportunity, and we did. Afterwards, it was really hard to get it in front, Logan put me under a lot of pressure from the beginning to the end. It was a really intense race and like I say I was struggling a bit with the tyres. It wasn't easy, it was quite a challenge.
FIA Formula 3: Tell us a little bit about the struggles with those tyres because we did see you lock-up into Turn 1 early on in the race. How did that affect things?
Leclerc: It was a bit difficult to manage the rear, so I was getting quite a lot of snaps around corners so it wasn't easy. Obviously, we didn't set the car up as well to start P1, so that also had an effect. We tried to put a bit front hand to create opportunities but we were P1 in the first lap so it didn't go as planned, but it was better like this!
FIA Formula 3: Arthur, you nailed the safety car restart as well?
Leclerc: It was not easy, to be honest, I'm not really happy about the safety car restart. I took a little slide which I think made me lose a little bit of time. I think it wasn't the best job there in the safety car restart, but then I made the gap into Sector 1 and 2 and that made the gap for the race.
FIA Formula 3: Logan coming to you, you're on the podium in your 50th Formula 3 race, well done. It looked like you really gave it your best shot out there today?
Logan Sargeant: Oh yeah I did, I really did. Coming from yesterday I knew we had more pace than we showed in Qualifying and props to Arthur for getting the better start. That was my only regret in the race, not going a bit deeper into Turn 1 and holding the lead. But we had great pace, we were able to pressure him from the beginning to the end and I think that's all we could really ask for. We know it's not easy to overtake here so I just kept him under pressure, was waiting for a mistake but it just never came.
FIA Formula 3: Which parts of the race track were you faster than Arthur?
Sargeant: I'd say I felt really strong in Sector 1, I was able to gain in the DRS and I felt really good through Turns 1, 2 and 3. In the quicker corners in Sector 2, it wasn't easy to stay close so to gain back enough in that last Sector to get a proper run at it wasn't easy.
FIA Formula 3: What was it like to race at Zandvoort, how easy was it to stay in the dirty air behind Arthur? Was Turn 1 the only realistic overtaking point?
Sargeant: Look, the track is awesome to drive, it's really cool. It's my first time here so I'm getting more confident by the session but in terms of racing it is difficult. It's not easy to get close and I'd say Turn 1 is the only realistic place that you can really make an overtake without a mistake from the other driver.
FIA Formula 3: Logan you scored in all three races at Spa last weekend, you're now second here. Do you feel that you've found the sweet spot for your Charouz?
Sargeant: For us, as I've said many times, it is a building year. I'm trying to help them get stronger and stronger which I think we're proving to do so. We were so close to our first win today, we had really good pace so I think that's something to be proud of. It's still not where we want to be, we want to be at the front of Race 3. Which I know I'm capable of doing, so we still have some work to do, but it's getting better.
FIA Formula 3: Ayumu, coming to you now, well done on your second podium of year. How sweet was it for you to be back up on the podium?
Ayumu Iwasa: Yeah I'm really happy with another podium, but I wanted to overtake again but I didn't have a good pace. For sure I was struggling with the car, especially the traction. I was managing it, but still not enough, so I have to improve that.
FIA Formula 3: How long into the race were you struggling with oversteer, and how bad did it get towards the end of the race?
Iwasa: It was towards the end of the first part of the race, so quite early. I think as a team, we have to improve the car set up as well.
FIA Formula 3: And Ayumu, tell us about the Safety Car restart, it all got pretty busy on that opening lap after the restart?
Iwasa: I was able to get a very good restart, but my positioning was not so good. I took a lot of marbles around Turn 2 and Turn 3 and I was struggling after that, so it was really tough to drive but I could defend behind so it was not too bad.
FIA Formula 3: Well done to you.