Double podium at Spa – Championship lead consolidated

Maximilian Günther has further consolidated his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The 2016 Formula 3 runner-up celebrated two podium finishes in the three races contested on the sixth weekend of the season at Spa-Francorchamps. In the general classification of the world’s most prestigious junior series, Günther still tops the table on 266 points. Lando Norris is currently second on 248.

Günther further boosted his impressive personal statistics during the weekend in Belgium. Podium finishes in the first two races mean that the Prema driver from Bavaria has now registered eleven in the 18 races staged so far. In other words, he has finished among the Top Three in 61 percent of all Formula 3 races in 2017.

Having started from P3 in the third race at Spa-Francorchamps, Günther was forced to retire after colliding with another driver. Up to then, he had been the only contestant in the Formula 3 European Championship to score points in every race.

The seventh weekend of the 2017 season (18th – 20th August) now takes Günther to the tradition-steeped Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands where Formula 3 once again shares the bill with the DTM.

Max, how did you manage to get yourself up to third place in the first race?
I got off to a really good start from fourth place and immediately put pressure on the front-runners. By the time we were through Eau Rouge, I had already overtaken two of them and was in P2. However, the balance of my car was not quite right, so I was unable to attack the race leader. That was also the reason why I was ultimately unable to hold on to second place to the finish. Third place was the maximum I was going to get with my car on the day. But those were important championship points that I scored in the first race.

In the second race, you once again finished on the podium. For a while, you were even in the lead.
It was a similar start to the one I had in Race 1. Once again, I moved up from fourth on the grid to second. The battle with my team-mate Callum Ilott was especially enjoyable. We exchanged positions several times. I was in the lead for long periods of the race, but I was unable to open up a big enough gap. The tyres were degrading badly, and the balance of my car was still not perfect. It was like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. This time too, I came third. One of my main rivals for the title didn’t finish, so the points were all the more important.

What caused the early retirement in the third race on Saturday?
It started just like the other two races – quick off the mark and soon up to second place. The pace was not ideal, however, and after a few laps I was down in fourth place. While I was attempting to exploit the slipstream of the cars in front, I got involved in a scrap with another driver. I gave him enough space, but he didn’t use it and there was a collision. It was unfortunate, of course, but the stewards saw it as just a standard racing incident. I had certainly imagined the race panning out differently, but hey, that’s motorsport.

Next up is Zandvoort. What are your expectations for the weekend?
Zandvoort is a lot of fun. You don’t actually get any time to switch off mentally there. It’s just one corner after another, and each one has its own special character. The fast corners in particular are technically complex – something which suits me fine. The bumpy surface and steep turns are a challenge for drivers and cars alike. Last season, I won a race in Zandvoort and made two podium appearances there. That’s a record we’d like to build on this year.