Messy weekend in Monza

I’ve never known such a mess

Six safety car periods, race stopped twice, loads of crashes – the fourth race weekend of the FIA Formula 3 championship in Monza is one for the record books. Maximilian Günther did his best to stay out of the confusion all around him at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Unfortunately, the 17-year-old retired from the first two races after being involved in no-fault collisions. Producing a storming performance in the third race, Maximilian battled his way up into tenth place to secure a position in the Top Ten. He is now in fourth place in the rookie championship and sixth in the overall standings after his podium debut during the previous race weekend at Pau.

Maxi, that was a tough weekend for all the drivers. What happened in Monza?
“Incredible, I’ve never known such a mess,” said Maximilian. “13 drivers retired just in the first race, and I was one of them, unfortunately, after being catapulted off track. I was in eighth position in the second race when another car drove into my side, wrecking my suspension. Some of my opponents went completely over the top, and it was with good reason that race stewards decided to abandon the second and third races.”

Is there any way you could have avoided the chaos?
“Perhaps with a better grid position. The drivers occupying the top places are experienced and treat each other more fairly, but if you have to start as one of the bunch in the mid field, then the risk of a collision is multiplied enormously, and that, unfortunately, is what I experienced in Monza.” Maximilian is contesting his first year in this top-class junior series but has rapidly developed into one of the best drivers in qualifying. Until the Monza weekend, he had qualified third on the grid six times in a row and impressed with podiums and strong results. Maxi: “You need a bit of luck in the quali in Monza. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the slipstream effect that you need down the long straights, so I lost time. It was really close in Monza – I was less than a second off the pole-sitter’s time.”

Maxi’s lessons from Monza
1. “I’m still a rookie and have a lot to learn – but there was no need for what happened in Monza.”
2. “I was very pleased with my starts. They constitute a sound basis for the next races.”
3. “The stands were really full! It was great to see the crowd’s enthusiasm for us in Italy.”

What now?
Next stop: Spa-Francorchamps. The legendary Belgian Ardennes circuit will host the Formula 3 championship from June 19th to 21st. Maximilian: “I know Spa from my time in the Formel ADAC. I twice finished on the podium there two years ago on my way to securing the position of championship runner-up. Eau Rouge, Blanchimont, Stavelot – every fan in the world knows these turns and can tell great stories about them. Fighting for points there and, hopefully, more podiums means a great deal to me. I think that with a good qualifying I can do quite well at Spa.”

Foto: Mario Bartkowiak