Podium success in prestigious Grand Prix de Pau
Return to the scene of championship success in the Formula 3 for Maximilian Günther. The 18-year-old repeated his podium finish from last year in the prestigious Grand Prix de Pau in France. In tricky weather conditions, Günther secured his third podium finish of the season after previously taking two wins. The Prema Powerteam driver is in second place overall in the championship.
Max, congratulations on your third podium of the season. It was tough, wasn’t it?
I started the race from fourth place on the grid. Despite the tricky weather conditions, I was able to move up into second position right at the start. This was a very good start! I defended my position until the safety car was deployed. Then my team-mate Nick Cassidy overtook me on the restart. I didn’t want to risk too much on the wet track, preferring to secure the points, which I did. It was nice to be back on the podium in Pau this year.
A terrific success after a tough qualifying earlier. You have notched up five pole positions in recent events – so what went wrong in Pau?
After the last few qualis, I obviously reckoned on another decent result in Pau. I had problems with my visor in Q1, and couldn’t see well in the rain. Only in the final stages did things get better, and I was able to put my foot down. Third place in my group was not what I’d hoped for but was ok under the circumstances. I felt great in Q2, and my car was really fast in the rain. I took first place on the timesheet to begin with. Unfortunately, I skidded off track in Turn 7 and had to retire from qualifying before the end. I dropped back well down the field as track conditions subsequently improved.
You had to fight your way up to the front in Race 2. Can you tell us how your charge went?
I moved up two places straightaway at the start and was 17th for a while. The track was dry on the racing line but quite damp either side of it. There were a few crashes in front of me, but I kept well away from trouble. I’d worked my way up into the points by the middle of the race. My car was great, so I was able to overtake even on the narrow street circuit. Then came the collision, in which I damaged my front wing, unfortunately, so my race was over. A similar thing happened in the third race on Sunday. I was able to avoid the chaos at the start and gain a couple of places. I ultimately improved by a total of eight positions, but sadly, it wasn’t enough to finish in the points.
You are still in second place in the championship despite not scoring points in either race. Are you satisfied with that?
I came to Pau as overall leader and would have liked to have left still in the top spot, for sure. However, I won’t let this minor setback discourage me, on the contrary. Our car has been fast on all the circuits we’ve raced on so far, which makes me feel confident about the races to come. Plus, the deficit on my team-mate, Lance Stroll, is not that big. I’m still well placed after three out of ten race weekends.
The fourth round at the Red Bull Ring is in prospect next weekend. How do you rate your chances in Austria?
I’ve got a score to settle in the Formula 3 at Spielberg. Things didn’t go well for me there last year, but I really like the track. I’ve finished on the podium in the Formel ADAC several times there and would like to do it again in F3. Moreover, it’s a bit of a home race for me. My mother is Austrian, so I have Austrian roots. Also, the alpine landscape around Spielberg reminds me of my home in the Allgäu.