Dennis Hauger came in to Round 3 at the Red Bull Ring hoping to extend his championship lead. He did just that and in a commanding way. The Norwegian now has a 41 (!) point lead over Frederik Vesti.
There is no denying it now: Dennis Hauger is the outright FIA Formula 3 title favourite this year. The last five races the Red Bull Junior ended up on the podium and two and in a championship with such a big field, consistency could prove to be king. Where main rivals Jck Doohan and tea mate Olli Caldwell both had one bad race at the Red Bull Ring (Doohan failing to finish Race 3 and Caldwell getting 9th in Race 2), Hauger never finished lower than 3rd in Austria.
Also a powerful weapon: his (and Prema’s) Qualifying speed. For the second time in three rounds 18 year old Hauger got pole. Only Frederik Vesti, now second in the championship, managed to keep him from pole this season. Here is the Prema driver in his own words:
“In Free Practice we weren’t the strongest but in Qualifying we fixed what we needed to work on and we knew we had the pace. It was a really close Qualifying but in the end we poled it so we were really happy with that obviously.
“Race 1 and 2 from starting P12 in both… I didn’t expect it but on the Red Bull Ring you have such a DRS train the whole way that when there is some degradation you can really make a difference if you keep it clean in the beginning.
“So I had a lot of fun with some overtakes and in the end some really really good points in the championship, especially compared to the guys we were battling with.
“Race 3 didn’t end quite the way we wanted, I was just trying to stay behind, in the DRS and make a move close to the end, minimise the racing time on the tyres and get away from the guys behind.
“Then I think we were a bit unlucky with the Virtual Safety Car right at the end, that messed it up for us. I was a bit unlucky with the pace when it ended and lost momentum going into the last lap but over the weekend the pace was definitely there and we can be very happy with that.
“A really good event, I think it was a mixture of everything, the car felt really comfortable on this track and I felt comfortable, the guys did a great job and we just have to keep pushing forward, with the set-up and myself with my driving.”
Next round is at the Hungaroring July 31st.