Interviews and photos by Sergio Álvarez.
And so we return to the Ring – the Hungaroring for the next round of the FIA Formula 3 dog-eat-dog Championship. And A-Dog is on pole this time, wow! Who knew that the Beatles’ haircut could also go that fast in the Dallara F3 car. Mean, we sort of had it in the back of our mind that the Jr Leclerc bro was no slouch either and in a PREMA-engineered car he ought to have cracked the Enigma Code at some point sooner rather than later.
For more on AL’s trials and tribulations stay tuned for a special post next week. Dot, dot dot…
The H-Ring is serendipitously, if you allow us this rather exotic adverb used completely out of context (or not?), the scene of the current points leader, Dennis Hauger’s, first and last for 2020 F3 points scoring finishes, albeit with Hitech. Hi or low, that much is not certain, but with PREMA the Norwegian is flying high in 2021. What else would you expect from the guys who, according to one Oscar Piastri, “try and work out in a whole bunch of numbers that are too complicated for me to try and work that out as well” what’s what and who’s who in this highly competitive world that is F2/F3 combo.
Hungary – it’s hot, it’s dusty, it’s ex-commie, it’s old-school. I like Sargeant in P8 in a modest Charouz and Ralf Jr Schumacher in P4 for Trident. Those peeps can make it happen should an opportunity present itself across all three races.
Here’s what went down during the qualy.
P1. Leclerc | PREMA Racing
P2. Hauger | PREMA Racing
P3. Doohan | Trident
Q: Gents, what were your tyres like at the end of your flying lap?
Arthur Leclerc: “Yeah, I mean, it’s quite a big degradation for the lap (of the Hungaroring), especially with the track temp we have here in Budapest, it was 64 I think when we were driving (track temp) and it’s really high track temp. I never experienced such a high track temp. At the end of the lap, especially after Turn 11, when you put a lot of flow into the rear left you feel that the rear left is starting to give up. It’s not easy. In F3 you have not a lot of push in the weekend and you have to adapt to every little situation so when the track temp is that high you just have to fix you a little limit in sector 3 to not go over it and put a lap in a bin. It’s not easy, it’s quite a challenge.”
Dennis Hauger: “Definitely the track temp makes it tricky around here. You know, everyone is just trying to keep the tyres for the first push and it’s when it counts, the first one. During the lap it’s not easy, really, trying to have it on time into the first corner with the tyres. But in that last sector it’s quite tricky and getting a bit loose and so on. It makes it a bit tricky but I think it’s good fun.”
Jack Doohan: “Yeah, likewise. Other guys really capped it up. It wasn’t so much this morning practice, track conditions were horrific, with dust and grass all over the track. So it was, you know, quite a different ball game then going into qualifying because the balance was completely different. And the rears were with early limitation straight away, with overheating, so the warm-up procedure was very important and as well how you manage the tyres throughout the lap because it’s one of those circuits where you can, if you’re overdoing it in the first or second sector, you can screw up the third sector big time by just not having any rears left.”
And they’re all in it to win it! Let’s find out which one of this moody and magnificent trio will take the silverware (is it still a replica of the 2003 Ferrari steering wheel, like in CSR-crazy F1? no idea…) from Hungary home with them on Sunday, although logically Saturday’s midget races are awarded with stuff and points in any case. Keep sending it.