Victory and podium in season finale at Hockenheim
Maximilian Günther rounded off the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship in style in front of 152,000 spectators over the whole weekend at the Hockenheimring. The Prema driver from Bavaria pulled off a lights-to-flag victory in Sunday’s race. It was his fifth win of the 2017 season. This came after he was race runner-up on Saturday and only narrowly missed out on the podium in Race 1.
In the world’s most competitive junior series, Günther finished the season in third place, just five points behind the second-placed contestant and a potential repeat of the previous year’s result. With 16 podium appearances and 27 Top Ten finishes, Günther made a significant contribution to Prema winning the team championship. This was his third and final season in Formula 3, and he now ranks as the most successful driver to have contested the series in a car powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine.
But Günther won’t be putting his feet up just yet. Next week, the official test and substitute driver for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM team will once again be climbing into the cockpit of a DTM racing car when he participates in the Young Driver Test at the Lausitzring on behalf of the brand with the three-pointed star.
Max, that victory in the last race of the 2017 season was the perfect way to sign off.
Yes, it’s great to win the season finale in front of so many spectators. If you’re a German driver, competing at Hockenheim is always a very special experience. I got off to a really good start and proceeded to build up a lead from the very first lap. I then controlled the race and managed my tyres effectively. It was a really nice way to end the season.
Having finished the 2016 European Formula 3 Championship as runner-up last year, you obviously set yourself the target of winning it this time. Why didn’t that quite work out for you?
We didn’t have the strongest package this year. That was clear to us from the very first weekend. But we made the best of it and also led the championship for quite a long time. We fought hard to the end, but we were never going to win the title. Of course, I always want to be as far forward as possible, but this year, only first place counted.
What positives do you take from the season?
I am delighted to be the best placed of the Prema squad and also the most successful Mercedes driver. So, thanks are due to Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Prema for their support! I am very satisfied with my own performance in the 2017 season, because I got the maximum possible out of our package. I finished in the points in almost every race, scored a number of victories and made frequent appearances on the podium. Obviously, I had set myself the target of becoming champion, but success in motor racing ultimately depends on a whole range of factors.
What are your plans for next season?
I would like to take the next step in my career and graduate to an even faster car. I feel absolutely ready for this after serving my time in Formula 3. We are currently into negotiations, and there are various interesting possibilities for the coming season.
Are you looking forward to the Young Driver Test for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM team?
Yes, I’m really looking forward to it. It will be great to get back in a DTM car after completing a couple of weekends as a chauffeur in the Mercedes-AMG race taxi. The last time I did a test was at Jerez in 2016. The one coming up will be a great way to show what I’m made of.