Dennis Hauger explained how he was able to climb up the order in the first FIA Formula 3 race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring.
Red Bull-affiliated driver Hauger started 12th off the basis of the partial reversed grid for race one having taken pole position on Friday in qualifying.
He made up a few places on the opening lap before continuing his climb up the order to third behind Trident’s Clement Novalak and HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini where he sat for a number of laps.
He then inherited the lead when the pair clashed at Turn 4 in the closing stages and went on to take his second win of the season, extending his championship lead.
Speaking in the post-race press conference, he explained his approach to the race.
“I was staying quite in the middle of the pack, or of the train in the top, after it settled down a bit in the first couple of laps, and I just sort of tried to play it smart and not take too much out of the tyres or anything. And I saw people started to struggle and people started to fight as well, and I just had to try and gain as much as I could on that without losing too much time. I just had to try and stay cool really in the middle of that race and it paid off in the end.”
He went on to describe the race as “definitely one of those that I enjoyed the most”, and admitted that he didn’t expect to stand on the top step of the podium.
“I didn’t expect to be up there, definitely not on the top at least. But I just wanted to keep my nose clean in the first couple of laps and just have a clean one and get some points ahead of race two, but I felt that I had the pace, and we were good in the train. I was just waiting for the people [in front] to degrade but towards the middle of the race we found good pace and I got up some places.
“Also, in the beginning, the first three corners were kind of crazy with such a bunch up into the corners, so I gained a bit by taking different lines. I had a lot of fun out there and didn’t expect it to go that well but I’m happy to be on top in the end.”
He also shared his view of the incident between Novalak and Nannini. “I saw he [Novalak] was struggling to get away without the DRS. Nannini was always on his tail in Turns 3 and 4, so I just sat in the back trying to see what was going to happen. Turn 4 is really hard because if you try to go around the outside, it doesn’t often end well and in the end after a couple of laps of fighting they clashed together. It’s racing in the end but Turn 4 is a risky corner anyway.”