Two podium finishes in debut as a Pink Panther at Zandvoort

Maximilian Günther has continued his impressive run of podium finishes, on this occasion as a ‘Pink Panther’. On the seventh weekend of the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Zandvoort, the 20-year-old competed for the first time in the livery of his new partner, BWT. In the bright pink paint job, already well known to fans from Formula 1, Günther registered two podiums in the three races. For the 2016 Formula 3 European Championship runner-up, they were his twelfth and 13th Top Three finishes out of the 21 races so far contested in the current campaign.

After a strong start and third place in Saturday’s race, Günther was looking to notch up further victories this season, but an unfortunately timed yellow phase in the second quali denied him the chance of claiming the all-important pole positions for the second and third races. He then had to settle for P7 and P3, the same positions he started from, on the circuit in the North Sea dunes where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

Following the Dutch round of the world’s most fiercely contested junior series, the battle for the title is becoming more intense. For the first time since 1st July 2017, Günther no longer leads the championship table. He is on 302 points and in second place behind Lando Norris (Great Britain). However, the deficit is not huge at 11 points.

At the Nürburgring, which is due to host the eighth of the ten race weekends this year (8th – 10th September), Günther will fancy his chances of getting back ahead: last year, he claimed a victory and two second places in his home fixture.

Max, are you satisfied with your two podiums in Zandvoort?
The podium places bring important points with them, but second and third places are not what we set out to do. I want to win more races, and the title remains my clear objective. We imagined the weekend at Zandvoort turning out differently. In qualifying, we had a lot of bad luck with yellow flags and traffic. The prospect of pole positions was definitely there. We could have started from the first row in all three races. Unfortunately, we were unable to realise our true potential due to the frustrating circumstances. Anyway, I made the best I could out of P4, P7 and P3 on the grid.

You are now second in the championship. Will this affect your approach the remaining races?
It doesn’t change anything for me. We’ll carry on in the same way as before. We have three more race weekends ahead of us. Our aim is to come back very strongly and to lay down a marker. As far as my approach is concerned, I always try to get the maximum out of every situation. There is no reason to start driving more aggressively or less aggressively. I’m competing for the victory in every race, but it is not always possible to win. If the victory is there for the taking, I won’t be satisfied with third place.

What was it like driving a pink car for the first time?
I like the pink colour scheme a lot, and I’m glad that it makes me stand out from the rest. My car is undoubtedly an eye-catcher in the field. I am very happy to have such a strong partner as BWT giving me support. Many people in the paddock were surprised when they saw my car in the new design for the first time. The feedback was very positive, and in any case, the colour has now established itself in motorsport.

Next up is your home race at the Nürburgring. How do you think you will do there?
The Nürburgring is a track which brings back a lot of good memories. Last year, I had a mega weekend there. I would obviously like a repeat of that victory. We will be doing our absolute best to extract even more in all areas. We will do our utmost to put in a top performance in qualifying, to battle our way back in the races and to regain the championship lead.