F3: Reflections from Hungary

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F3 returned in fine style in Budapest as Dennis Hauger extended his championship lead. Overtaking is notoriously hard around the Hungaroring, although enough action was provided to keep us entertained. All three races provided something different and we like variety here at GP Grandstand. Here’s what I thought of F3 in Hungary.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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Dennis Hauger has been pretty hungry for success this season and it was no different this weekend. A victory in the feature race confirms to me why no one is going to beat him to the crown.

A move around the outside of teammate Arthur Leclerc was one of the highlights of the weekend and just demonstrates the confidence he has at the moment. Despite being wet and not needing to take risks, the Norwegian wasn’t deterred to pass Leclerc around turn 4.

Hauger is in a healthy position being backed by Red Bull and performances like this will stand him in good stead when he inevitably moves to F2. He certainly would have caught Helmut’s eye and may find himself in an AlphaTauri in years to come if he continues this trajectory. A clean second half of the season and the title is his. He could even wrap it up before COTA at this rate.

Rivals fall foul

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Whilst Hauger was basking in the Budapest sun (and rain!), his rivals were certainly sweltering out of contention. None more so than Frederick Vesti who was building up some nice momentum with a victory in Austria.

His weekend got off to a messy start after picking up a grid penalty for blocking in qualifying. Whilst the Danish driver was at fault in quali, his race was cruelly ended with yet another technical failure in F3. He pulled over at the side of the track to bring out a safety car. Utterly heartbreaking stuff and he let his feeling known over team radio.

As is the case with the format, a bad result in race one sets a driver up for a bad race two having to come from the back. Vesti could only manage P16 on a frustrating, yet eventful Saturday afternoon.

P7 in race three was better but won’t help his championship chances. He’s fallen down the order and has been overtaken by a raft of drivers who had cleaner weekends. I expect Vesti to bounce back in Spa, however.

Those pesky stewards

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They are there to maintain law and order and I get that. Without them, carnage would ensue and they do step in when something serious is at play. However, when a result is changed hours after a race, then we’ve got a problem.

Lorenzo Colombo drove superbly to give Campos the most unlikely win but the Italian was cruelly denied. It was found out that he failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car brought out to recover the stricken Jonny Edgar.

I know the rule has been in place for years but it sucks nonetheless. To have a victory taken away hours after the race is not only harsh on the driver but confusing for fans.

One suggestion I have going forward is perhaps delay the podium by ten minutes so the correct winner can be congratulated. Iwasa was the beneficiary but I’m sure he’d have liked to celebrate his first win on the top step and not in the motorhome.

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It’s not the first time something like this has happened and I doubt it’s the last. A multitude of other penalties were also handed out mirroring the recent trends shown by the stewards.

Whilst it was dejection for one Italian, it was jubilation for another. Matteo Nannini picked up his first victory in F3 after failing to impress, especially considering his controversial duel campaign. In fairness to him, he had a great tussle with Enzo Fittipaldi and it’s always good to see two household names go toe to toe.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the season and expect something similar in the final rounds. The next four weeks will feel like an eternity as I come to terms with the lack of racing.

Featured Image: HWA Racelab

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