After another chance to score points went begging last weekend at the Nurburgring, Tatiana Calderon looks back on a frustrating European Formula 3 outing in her latest column.
Welcome to my latest Motorsport.com column! It’s been another tough weekend racing in European F3 for me at the Nurburgring, where one of my best chances to finally score points this year was lost through no fault of my own. But that’s racing, and it can be cruel sometimes.
The Nurburgring is a short track, only 3.6km long, and having 33 cars on the tarmac together makes it really difficult to find a gap. Because it’s not that hard on tyres, and the temperature is low, you need a few laps to warm the tyres and build momentum.
I had four hot laps in Q1, but I was simply lacking grip, and it was quite frustrating to be only 1.1s off the pace and yet starting all the way down in P25. I did a better job in Q2 – I followed my teammate George Russell’s wheeltracks and got some good, consistent times on the board. But with the field as tightly bunched as ever, I was still only P21 and P20 for races two and three.
Race one was pretty boring to be honest – I made a good start, and took quite a few positions going up the inside at the first corner, which put me up five places to P20. That’s where I would end up at the finish, as I got stuck in a train of cars all running similar levels of aero to me. Most of them were on fresher tyres too, so there was no real chance to pass.
The second race was a little more interesting; again the start went well, and I was pretty aggressive in the first few laps. I was even able to overtake Pietro Fittipaldi and Gustavo Menezes around the outside at the chicane – I was proud of those moves, even if you couldn’t see it on TV, only on my on-boards!
I made it as high as P14, but at the second Safety Car restart Alex Albon managed to pass me. He had a good pace and was really on it, and I have to confess that I didn’t do the best job of keeping the tyres warm – so I slid wide a bit at the last corner and through he went.
That put me down to P15, which is where I ended up at the finish – not too bad considering I was on old tyres again; it’s just a shame I didn’t start a little further up because I was happy with the pace.
The start of race three was really great, as I climbed up to P13. But then after the first Safety Car, Raoul Hyman just overshot the first corner on the restart and hit me. Of course, that wasn’t the first time I’ve been hit from behind this year… for some reason, the other drivers seem to like the rear of my car a lot!
I managed to continue, rejoining behind Alessio Lorandi, and I could tell I had the pace to get ahead of him. On the first lap after the third restart, I saw my chance at the final corner as he took a wide line, and I had already put my nose alongside when he came back for the apex and we touched – and that was the end of that.
It was unfortunate because I had been close to the points, and I was on new tyres for that one whereas a lot of my competitors were using an old set. I have always said that I am not a believer in luck, but then again I have definitely had my fair share of misfortune this year!
On paper the results haven’t been what I wanted, but I feel I have shown I can be aggressive and make good, clean overtakes. I’m always moving forward – I’m a good racer, but sadly not yet such a good qualifier, and it would be naive of me to think that’s going to change overnight.
I know it’s going to be tough to score points at Hockenheim, but I will be trying everything to make something happen. I’ve done well there before, and at this time of year, it could well be wet, which would definitely play to my strengths.
Whatever happens there, I’ll be back to share my thoughts on the weekend, and my season as a whole. Hopefully I will have something positive to share!
Until next time,