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Jul 28, 2014 - 06:59 AM
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Hungary Review: 'Part Of A Winning Team!'
Posted by: newsla on Jul 28, 2014 - 06:53 AM
GP2 News
Hungary Review: 'Part Of A Winning Team!'

With two fourth places I didn’t get on the podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix-supporting round of the GP3 Series, but from a championship point of view it was another strong weekend. I extended my points lead, and that shows how important it is to be competitive every time out.


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I’ve got great faith in the Carlin team so I was confident of another strong showing at the Hungaroring, but we did have a little bit of a difficult start to the weekend. You start free practice on old tyres from the previous race weekend, and that can make things tough because you don’t really know where your car is on set-up, especially as the Hungaroring takes a lot out of the tyres very quickly. Then there was a red flag and I didn’t get a clean run on my new tyres, so we were a little bit in the dark where we’d be for qualifying. We did have a clue though – my team-mate Luis Sa Silva was fastest in sector one and second quickest in sector two, so we thought the car was good enough.

Then we had a really frustrating qualifying session on Saturday morning, because I couldn’t get a clear run at all. We pretty much left it all to the last minute, which is far from ideal. You only had one good lap in the tyres, and I got it in just in time, because I’d just gone second on the grid when the red flag came out. The session restarted, but there was nothing left in my tyres and nobody went quicker than my time.

That was good, because it means I’ve still not been outside the top two in qualifying this year, with two pole positions and three front-rows. Unfortunately though I made a poor start, and as a team we need to look at this. I dropped as far back as fifth but then I passed Patric Niederhauser around the outside in Turn 2 – I needed to pull something out after such a disastrous start. I was annoyed, and just thought, ‘Go on then, send it around the outside’ – it came off.

That put me fourth, behind Nick Yelloly. I could see the top two tearing off into the distance and I thought there was no way they could finish the race like that. Robert Visoiu, in second place, had extraordinary pace and so did his Arden team-mates behind me. It’s hard to pass on the Hungaroring though, and Visoiu went off trying to take the lead on the penultimate lap. He came back on just in front of me and luckily for him it was a tight sequence of corners, which helped him out because I couldn’t get by. My tyres were pretty finished anyway so my weapon wasn’t particularly sharp to fight him, and then he just cruised away from me and straight back onto Nick’s tail.

In Sunday’s race the Arden cars didn’t have the same pace as they had on Saturday: except at the start. I was fifth on the reversed grid and, looking at the data, I made a good start, but I dropped to sixth because all the Arden cars made absolute fliers! I got back up to fifth by Turn 1, and then I passed Visoiu at Turn 2.

That put me into fourth and with two or three laps to go I was right on the tail of Jann Mardenborough. I was close enough to have a go, but to be honest at this stage I needed the eight points more, as the risk of crashing would have made a big move a bit foolish.

I’m pleased that my points lead is so big. GP3 is all about consistency, as Jimmy Eriksson – who was previously my main rival – has found out by having two bad weekends and is suddenly 49 points adrift of me. That’s how quickly it changes.
Some time after the GP3 race I had a great time watching the Grand Prix in the Red Bull garage. It was really, really cool, especially as Daniel Ricciardo won. That was great to see, and the race was fantastic – I even went down to watch the podium. As a Red Bull Junior, it’s great to feel a small part of a winning team!

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