#21 Jüri Vips (EST – Hitech Grand Prix)
Qualifying 1: 11th – Race 1 Grid: 11th – Race 1 Result: 6th
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 3rd – Race 2 Result: 2nd
FIA F3 Championship position: 5th – 20 points – after 2 of 16 races
#14 Yuki Tsunoda (JAP – Jenzer Motorsport)
Qualifying 1: 10th – Race 1 Grid: 10th – Race 1 Result: 10th
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 10th – Race 2 Result: 9th
FIA F3 Championship position: 10th – 1 point – after 2 of 16 races
#4 Liam Lawson (NZL – MP Motorsport)
Qualifying 1: 19th – Race 1 Grid: 19th – Race 1 Result: DNF
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 29th – Race 2 Result: 17th
FIA F3 Championship position: 19th – 0 points – after 2 of 16 races
The opening weekend of the new FIA F3 Championship produced plenty of drama and an excellent second place for Jüri Vips, the 18-year-old Estonian, in Race 2. Fellow Red Bull Juniors Yuki Tsunoda, the 19-year-old Japanese took 9th in Race 2 while 17-year-old New Zealander Liam Lawson battled technical issues and was 17th.
"It was a good weekend, I wouldn't say fantastic," explained the Hitech Grand Prix driver. "We recovered to make it a good race in Race 2 and we learnt a lot. I have to say a big thank you to the team, they did a great job and we know a lot more about the car now."
"We didn't have it quite right in Qualifying, we didn't have the pace for pole but looking ahead to Paul Ricard I think we will be in better shape. We should have been higher in Qualy. In the second push lap at the end the guy ahead made a mistake but didn't let me past so I had to back out of it and that spoilt the run."
"From the start of practice everyone was doing different things and we didn't know where we stood. The team improved the balance of the car through Practice and Qualifying. Even though it wasn't perfect we were 2nd to 5th most of the session it was only at the end that my best lap was spoilt."
"I did what I could from there in Race 1 and the result wasn't too bad. From the start of Race 2 I got a bit boxed in, we were three wide and I was in the worst position, I lost out and got passed. Dropped to fifth but we had good pace, the guys gave me a good car and I could get back up to second."
"So you always want more, we could have had more but I think we are in great shape for the next race."
"It was quite a difficult weekend," stated the Jenzer Motorsport driver. "From the start of practice I had problems with the front, when I went out it felt so strange that I asked the guys on the radio if the left front wheel was on correctly. I came in the pits, everything was OK but I was having massive oversteer through the right corners."
"We struggled to stop the oversteer through the weekend. The team worked hard and improved things but it was never quite right. We tried to get the car to rotate more in the mid to slow speed corners but it was difficult. I think without that problem we should have been able to qualify P5 or P4."
"In Race 1 I made a mistake at the start with the clutch and lost 2 or 3 positions. Once I got going I had quite good pace so got back to P10 and that was good experience."
"In Race 2 I didn't make the same mistake but I think I can still improve my starts. The team had done more work to improve the understeer in the slow and medium speed corners but unfortunately this gave us oversteer at the exit of the high speed corners so actually we had a better car in Race 1."
"Still we finished P9 and we have learnt things that will help next time," concluded the Honda Formula Dream Project driver.
The Kiwi was frank about his weekend. "It's been a disaster honestly, the best thing you can say is that we finished a race. We didn't understand why we had no pace in qualifying and then on the formation lap for Race 1 the car lost power so I had to come straight into the pits."
"The guys fixed the throttle body and I went out and did thirteen laps to put in some mileage. That left us starting P29 for Race 2 today. I did what I could from there and got up to P17 but that's it."
"We still don't really know where we are with the car, we've got a lot of work to do but we'll be in a better position at Paul Ricard," concluded the MP Motorsport driver.