In the heat of the (Hungarian) moment

12.08.2013

Kevin took podium in race 2 at Hungaroring as GP3 ran its last meeting before the four-week summer break.

Terrible midsummer heat in Hungary during GP3 round five seemed to suit Kevin well. He scored another podium and, with some rivals hitting inevitable trouble, is firmly in the title chase. Hungary was the last meeting before the four-week summer break and of course it is always nice to begin the holidays on the positive note. But what happened in Hungary and what will happen after the summer-break? Kevin shares his views.

How did the weekend in Hungary pan out?

Let’s say it could have panned out better than it did. Fourth place in qualification was not bad at all, it was rather OK. But at first start I simply missed the right moment and lost three places so I was only seventh in race one. I started from second on the grid to race two and the same happened again. I dropped to fourth for a moment and even almost fifth but then I braked really late to turn one and fortunately managed to retake at least P3. But still I gave away one place and we have to work on the starts to get them sorted out again.

In F1 everybody was talking about the horrendous heat in Hungary. How was it in GP3?

It was business as usual – you do fastest lap-time on lap two and... We had already difficulties with overtaking at Nürburgring, which actually is average-good regarding to overtaking opportunities. Coming to Hungary from there everybody was aware that overtaking is impossible due to the nature of the track. In the second race everybody was trying to post the fastest time during lap two. The leader was running at full pace, second driver was braking a little bit earlier, third even earlier and so on. Basically top drivers were not at full pace at all because it was impossible to overtake. But in race one I had really tough last five laps. We had medium tires there and my rubber was more or less finished, I had two or three cars behind me and had to cover my line all the time. In fact, tires were so finished I had to lift in some turns which should be flat-out. I was not sure if I can manage to keep them at bay all the way to the flag but fortunately safety car was deployed and I had two laps less to defend.

What is the reason for the lack of overtaking? Is it the car which doesn’t favor slipstreaming?

I think it is one reason. And the other factor is that the further down in the order you are driving, the more your tires are wearing off. Which means if you are first or second you have minimal tire wear and you simply drive faster. We have reversed grid for Top 8 in race two and usually the polesitter wins that race if only he can take a decent start, although, according to race 1 results he should be slower than seven drivers behind him.

Your team-mate Aaro Vainio was the fastest qualifier in Hungary and also won race 1. Does it mean you have now unlocked the secrets of the setup?

We were not spot-on at Nürburgring, qualification pace was not the greatest there. This time in Hungary we had the speed with the same tire compound and with the same setup, so it seems to be a day-on-day-off case. But Aaro drove really well this time. He has raced four times at Hungaroring and on three occasions he has started from the pole.

Long-time points leader Tio Ellinas’ luck finally ran out in Hungary and he scored two zeros. How did it affect the title chase?

My chances are OK, I guess, but there are seven others who have good prospects as well. Top 8 is covered by only 34 points. If you can pull out a good weekend like Aaro did this time, gathering 31 points during a single day, you see how equally matched the top is.

Looking from the outside GP3 seems to have quite strange schedule with long breaks between the meetings. How do you see it from the inside?

It is OK with me. We had a month-long break after first round but then we have had four rounds in close succession. It is true that the races have concentrated into a relatively narrow time-frame. Now we will have two next meetings at Spa and Monza in one week and then the season is basically finished. Apart from the fact that we have to wait two months until the final races in Abu Dhabi.

Are you looking forward to Spa and Monza? You have once said that Monza is your favorite track.

Maybe it is not the favorite but yes, I do like to drive there. Then concerning favorites... I also like to drive at Nürburgring but this year had no big success there. On the other hand I don’t like driving at Silverstone but I had a rather good weekend in England. Nothing can be taken for granted anywhere, it is up to yourself and setup and and and...

How do you spend the four-week summer break? Just relaxing?

Basically yes but I still to try keep my fitness. Perhaps there will be no opportunities to drive, the next time I get to the car will be free practice at Spa on Friday. Maybe I will drive go-kart for a day or two in order to maintain the sharpness.

Inside

Youngest driver to win a race in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

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