When joining last season’s vice-champions, Hitech Grand Prix, for his sophomore season in Formula 3, Max Fewtrell hardly envisaged slumming it around the midfield pack in the opening three rounds, but that’s how it played out so far.
Largely, this has been due to the teams’ struggles to turn the car on in Qualifying, which has left them starting further down the field. On Friday in Silverstone, something clicked, and Fewtrell left with P4, and a beaming smile on his face, despite what he called “a messy lap.”
The increase in performance could hardly have come at a better time either, with Fewtrell and Hitech Grand Prix both arriving at their home event, in Great Britain. “We have been struggling with the car, which I think has been quite obvious,” Fewtrell explained. “We have been quite out of place for where we should be, so this is a big step up from the last three weekends.
“It is nice to know that are back in the fight now. We have made a big step between Budapest and here. I am just excited to get on track to be honest and start gaining momentum from there after a really tough three races.
“It is always nice to be on home soil, it always helps, and it is always a special feeling compared to other tracks.”
Heading into Round 4 of the season, Hitech hadn’t previously qualified higher than 10th on the grid – a stark contrast to last season, when they were fighting for the Championship.
The British outfit do already have a win under their belts, thanks to Liam Lawson in Race 2 of Round 1, but their inability to qualify inside of the top five has left them starting on the backfoot, and realistically, out of contention for a win.
“We have got the car more nailed for qualy and it switches itself on a bit better now, which is what we struggled with in the previous rounds. The race pace has always been okay, but because we have been starting at the back, we couldn't really show our true pace.
“It is quite hard to explain why. The balance and everything is pretty similar, we just got the time this time around and got it right. Driving wise, I have not massively done anything different to the three races before either, we just got it together a little bit more today.
“There is still a bit in me, compared to my teammate. I made a few mistakes on the lap, it wasn’t actually the perfect lap at all, it was quite messy. I am just relieved to be P4 for tomorrow and the race is a different story to qualy.”
Fewtrell will be joined in the top four by his teammate, Lawson, who missed out on pole to PREMA’s Logan Sargeant by just four hundredths of a second.
The duo’s performances show the improvements that Hitech have been able to make in the near two-week gap between rounds three and four, and it will give them the potential to regain some precious points from their rivals in the Championship battle.
“It is nice to be in a better position tomorrow, where we can fight for the win and show our true pace. Of course, we need to see where the pace is when the race gets going and be realistic from there, but our goal is to win.”