Home Featured The positives and negatives van Hoepen is taking from his F3 podiums

The positives and negatives van Hoepen is taking from his F3 podiums

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Laurens van Hoepen claimed his second FIA Formula 3 podium in Melbourne, making it two out of two in sprint races, but it was not an easy one for him.

The ART Grand Prix driver started from reversed-grid pole and led early on in the race. He exchanged first place several times with Martinius Stenshorne between laps three and five, before the Hitech GP driver broke away.

“I would say probably already in the beginning of the race, when I saw that Martinius was already so close to me behind, I knew I was in for a tough race,” said van Hoepen. “I was really struggling to stay in front, and after he overtook me I was really struggling also to stay behind. So from that point on, I knew it was going to be tough.”

Visible graining, especially in his rear-left tyre, caused a drop in van Hoepen’s performance. The Dutchman was then overtaken by Prema’s Arvid Lindblad on lap nine of 20, but unlike his team-mates he would not fade away and finished 1.958 seconds behind the winner.

“I would say really from the point that Arvid started catching, it was really, really hard. Like I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, but I knew it was going to be really tough towards the end. And then at one point from like mid to end of the race, I started to get a better feeling again. And I actually thought ‘oh, actually, it’s not done yet’, like I could fight back. So, yeah, it was a decent end.”

Converting reversed-grid poles into sprint race podiums is not enough for the rookie, who has finished no higher than 13th in a feature race so far.

“I don’t want to lose positions in the race, you know? So I’m not too happy about that, but it’s definitely a working point. So to really work in the races to make sure we can actually hold on to pole positions. I wasn’t too happy with the qualifying in general yesterday, so that’s why I had to start on pole today. And not on pole tomorrow, for example, which was maybe a bit far, but I think when later in the season we can do a better job in qualifying, it will be better for the race on Sunday.”

Notwithstanding, the start to life in F3 has been a step forward from his two Formula Regional European Championship seasons where he scored just two podiums. Van Hoepen acknowledged that F3’s car is an influental factor.

“I would say that this F3 car suits me better than everything I’ve driven before because there is a lot more downforce in this car than anything else that I’ve driven. And that suits me better than everything else. So I really like this car. For sure there’s still a lot to learn about this car, some tricks and stuff that I could do better, but overall it suits me well and I really enjoy driving [it].”