Max Günther jubilant at third win of season in Hungary
Maximilian Günther has continued to build on his excellent series of results in the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. After notching up a double victory in the previous round of the competition in the French city of Pau, he recorded a third consecutive win in Hungary. The 2016 Formula 3 runner-up registered a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in Race 1 on the circuit just outside Budapest. Furthermore, it was Günther’s fifth consecutive podium in the world’s most competitive junior single-seater series.
In both of the other two races on the Hungaroring, Günther took sixth place. His run of points-scoring finishes therefore continues unabated. In each of the twelve races so far contested, the 19-year-old has consistently finished among the Top Seven, and that includes six podium appearances. Günther currently occupies second place in the championship on 178 points, a gap of only five to the top.
Günther was on double duty in Hungary for the first time. In addition to his involvement in Formula 3, he is accompanying the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team this season in his capacity as official test and reserve driver. Günther is attending meetings of the DTM team during the weekends and is given further insights into the work of the most successful manufacturer in the history of the internationally popular touring car series.
He can now look forward to the first home race during the 2017 season when the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is contested on the legendary Norisring in the context of the next DTM race weekend (1st – 2nd July). Günther will also be celebrating his 20th birthday on Sunday 2nd July. He has fond memories of the famous street circuit in the city of Nuremberg, having achieved a maiden Formula 3 win there, the first of eight to date.
Pole and victory in the first race by a clear margin. Were you surprised by how dominant you were in the opening race of the weekend, Max?
I was especially pleased with the start to the weekend. In particular, taking pole for the first race, which was hard work due to the rain. Broadly speaking, qualifying went almost perfectly for me. As far as I could see from the pit board, I was always on course for pole position. I got off to a great start in the first race and was quickly able to pull out a lead, controlling the pace at the front. After that, it was important to keep tyre wear under control, which is something I also managed to do.
In the second and third races, you finished sixth both times. Do you think you might have got more out of those two races?
I did my level best to gain more places. But the front of the field is so evenly matched that overtaking is barely possible. Especially not on a track such as Budapest, as we’ve seen all weekend. I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk and force the issue. Those two P6s have earned me more valuable points. And as I’ve said right from the start, consistency is the key to having a successful season. With twelve points-scoring results from the twelve races so far, I’m well on the way.
In two weeks’ time, you’ll be at the Norisring, which many consider to be the highlight of the season. What are your expectations for your home race?
I simply can’t wait to get racing in Germany again. When you’re competing in front of your home crowd, there is a different atmosphere, and you’re very much aware of that as a driver. The plan at the Norisring is obviously to carry on posting top results. We know exactly where we can improve. I already discovered what it feels like to win at the Norisring in 2015. On that occasion, I had a bet with my engineer: in the event of a victory, my forfeit was to jump into the Dutzendteich lake. So that’s what I did. Let’s see if my Prema crew are willing to enter into a similar wager!