I feel 100 per cent ready for the next step

Günther: Interview regarding the 2014 season

Maximilian, you have now defended your position as runner-up in the Formel ADAC. How do you rate that success?
Maximilian Günther: It was a huge success, given our situation this season. I started my second season with one aim in mind, to win the championship, but it was much more difficult than expected. We didn’t always have the best cards over the eight race weekends when compared to the championship winning team. On the whole, they were simply better placed, which was already apparent during winter testing. Still, I was able to outperform them on a couple of occasions, and we always achieved the maximum with the team. It’s great that I managed to slot into second place overall in the rankings, splitting the two drivers fielded by the championship team.

Was it sometimes difficult to motivate yourself for the races in these circumstances?
No, not at all! As a racing driver, I always want to do my best. I focused on one race weekend at a time throughout. Take one step at a time, that was the name of the game. I knew that I could beat them, if everything went perfectly. I even managed it a few times with four wins and six pole positions.

As at the finale in Hockenheim, for example…
Yes, double pole in qualifying at the Hockenheimring was an excellent endorsement of my ability, but I lost half a second in the middle sector on the straights, because other cars had much more top speed. However, I gained six tenths on the third sector which is extremely challenging from a driving point of view and won through. My reward was another trophy for my collection after securing second place in the race.

You achieved 21 podiums during your two years in the Formel ADAC, which means that you lead the list of all-time greats in that category. Did you continue to develop during this period?
Definitely! I’ve developed hugely since taking my first steps in single-seater racing. I was already racing at a fairly high level during my rookie season in the Formel ADAC. Eleven poles prove that. As regards speed, I was able to ratchet things up a notch this year.

Have you noticed other changes?
I’ve also developed as a person for the simple reason that it has not always been easy for the team and for me this season. Still, we never put our heads in the sand and never gave up. 2014 helped me to make more progress as a person and improve my driving skills more than if I had won every race.

What was your personal highlight of 2014?
Without a doubt, the second race in Zandvoort. I won a race in the wet for the first time, showing that I’m fast even in such difficult conditions. Previously, I’d only been able to prove that in a couple of practice sessions. I controlled the race in the Netherlands and had a lot of fun in the battle in the rain.

Next year should see you moving up into the FIA Formula 3 European championship. Do you feel ready for the challenge?
Absolutely! After two years in single-seater racing, now is the perfect time to take the next step and move into a higher class. I feel 100 per cent ready for the task ahead. I know that the level in the Formula 3 European championship is incredibly high, as drivers like Max Verstappen, who is moving up into Formula 1 in 2015, have shown this year, but I’m only too happy to accept the challenge.

You have another goal ahead of you before that happens, coming top overall this year in the Deutsche Post Speed Academy. What are your chances of being named ‘Germany’s Motorsport Talnt of the Year’?
I came top in the first two of three assessment periods, now the final is on its way. It would be incredible to win the title in my very first year at the Deutsche Post Speed Academy. I’ve used many of the lessons that I learned in the workshops on the race track. I’m happy and proud to be a Deutsche Post Speed Academy protégé.

Foto: ADAC Formel Masters