Third best rookie in Race 2 in the Netherlands

Yet another rookie podium for Maximilian Günther

Seventh FIA Formula 3 Championship race weekend for Maximilian Günther and Mücke Motorsport at Zandvoort: Following the sensational victory at the Norisring, Maxi and the team did not have things all their own way on the outing in the Netherlands. The talented young German finished the second race on the rookie podium with a seventh place in the general classification. The 18-year-old occupies fourth place in the rookie standings.

Maximilian, your seventh place in the second race brought in more valuable points, plus you were the third-best rookie. Are you satisfied with your result?
I think we got the maximum out of the car. Seventh place is OK, but on the basis of my results so far, it’s by no means the standard I should be aiming for. With regard to the rookie championship, though, every point scored is vitally important. Our team didn’t have an easy time at Zandvoort. With six points from the weekend, I was the most successful of the Mücke Motorsport drivers.

We saw that in qualifying. Normally, you’re one of the best in the entire line-up when you’re on a fast lap. In Zandvoort, however, you had a fight on your hands.
It’s difficult enough anyway to get near the front when you’re starting from 10th or 13th on the grid. And all the more so at Zandvoort, because the track layout makes overtaking virtually impossible. We were having problems with the balance all weekend, and this affected the straight-line speed of our car. A pity really, as we have the potential for considerably better results. We showed that most recently with my race victory at the Norisring on the previous weekend.

In the first and third races, you had other difficulties which were beyond your control…
Yes, in the first race my front wing was damaged in the mêlée immediately after the start. This no fault collision cost me a few places, and the performance of my car was compromised. I had to pit for a new front wing, so the race was essentially over for me. That was annoying, because I had a good chance of scoring points. After replacing the front wing, my speed was once again good and would have been enough for a place in the Top Ten. In the third race on Sunday, I had a new clutch in my car. I didn’t get off the line cleanly and initially lost one position, but in the further course of the race, I then gained three. Unfortunately, I was never going to get more out of the situation, because I was stuck behind other cars.

In the third race, you ran out of time to gain any more positions because the safety car kept coming out. What’s your opinion as a driver of the sheer number of safety car deployments this season?
True, there have been quite a few accidents this year. I think this is mainly due to the size of the grid. 34 cars on the track is a lot, and it increases the risk of collisions. I’m not saying that the cars are too fast for one or two of the contestants. You’ve got a lot of talented and experienced drivers in the field. It’s not for nothing that commentators call the Formula 3 Championship the toughest junior racing series in the world.

What else was going on off the track at Zandvoort over the weekend?
It’s super that we share the weekend with the DTM and have the opportunity to showcase our talents in front of such a large crowd of spectators. It’s also an opportunity to get to know some of the DTM drivers and chat to them. I was also delighted to meet Manuel Reuter at Zandvoort. Manuel is one of the most famous racing drivers in Germany and is on the panel of judges at the German Post Speed Academy. It’s great to have the chance to pick up some tips from such successful drivers. I’ve had the benefit of this several times during my career so far in motorsport. I also thought it was cool that Manuel was doing the live commentary on our Formula 3 races for n-tv.

The eighth race weekend of the season takes place in two weeks in Austria (31st July – 2nd August). What are your expectations for the Red Bull Ring?
I like the Red Bull Ring – it’s a really special track. Over the past two years, I’ve had a number of podium finishes in the Formel ADAC series. Hopefully, I can keep up that record in a Formula 3 car. I’ve always done well on this track, so I’m confident of good results in the three races coming up. The Red Bull Ring is similar to Hockenheim, and we were quite strong there. I’m sure that things will be better for us than at Zandvoort.

Foto: Mario Bartkowiak