A young man (Zak O'Sullivan) in a black Pirelli 150th anniversary cap and a navy and teal racing suit holds the silver-hued second-place trophy on the podium. There is a purple screen behind him with the Lenovo logo in red.

Zak O’Sullivan talks ‘really special’ Silverstone podium and wet-weather charge in Hungary

In his second column for F1 Feeder Series, Carlin F3 driver Zak O’Sullivan tells the story of his successful weekend in Britain, a challenging round in Austria and the recovery drive in Hungary that buoyed him as F3 entered its summer break.

By Zak O’Sullivan

Hi there, F1 Feeder Series fans! I’m writing this, my second feature article for the site, from my home in Gloucestershire during the summer break. It has been good to be back at home with family and friends, but there has still been plenty of hard work and training in the lead-up to Spa. The other week, I enjoyed tackling an obstacle course with my coaches and other drivers from Kokoro Performance, as well as spending time on my at-home simulator.

Quite a lot has happened since my first article, which I wrote in the lead-up to the British Grand Prix. I discussed some of the difficulties we had been having with performance and the work that we were putting in to fix those issues. It seems this hard work was starting to pay off – just a few hours after the article came out, I achieved my first FIA F3 pole position! For me, Silverstone has always been a track that I enjoyed and, thanks to my years in British motorsport, was one that I knew well. It was still a bit of a surprise to all of us to be in that P1 spot, though, and I knew there would be work to do in the races.

just a few hours after the article came out, I achieved my first FIA F3 pole position!

Zak O’Sullivan

Sunday’s Feature Race was where all my attention lay, and it was crucial for me to get a good start from the front. I was pleased to hold off Arthur Leclerc for a number of laps given his pace advantage, and after he passed me, the focus was on maintaining position and holding off those behind. Overall, I was happy with our performance that race, and I enjoyed that battle with Ollie Bearman in the final moments. It was also really special to be on that podium in front of the home fans.

Following the success in Silverstone, I was interested to see how we could perform at the Red Bull Ring the next weekend. Unlike with Silverstone, this was my first time at the circuit, and I arrived on Thursday with a lot to learn. Ultimately the weekend didn’t turn out as we had hoped, and I think the main frustration was how it could have been so different to the week before. Nonetheless, we regrouped and began preparing for the next round in Hungary.

Coming to the Hungaroring, it looked as if our performance might be similar to that in Austria, and an issue in Qualifying only made matters worse. It was clear to us then that fighting from towards the back, we would need to pull something special from the bag. With some of the most extreme swings in weather conditions I’d seen in a while, the weekend proved ideal for brave strategies.

I think if there had been one more lap, I would have been on the podium, perhaps even fighting for the win!

Zak O’Sullivan

As the track began to dry during Sunday’s Feature Race, I found myself in P17 with no sign of progressing any further, so I made the call to box for slicks. On these tyres, I quickly made up the places lost in the stop and then continued to push through the field with some ease. With a few laps to go, I knew I was in with a chance of securing good points, but as I pushed through the top 10, it became clear that we might even have a shot for a podium. I think if there had been one more lap, I would have been on the podium, perhaps even fighting for the win!

The result from Hungary was a good way to enter the summer break, and I look forward to seeing if we can return to the track this weekend with the same fortune.

Header photo credit: James Gasperotti Photography

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