DAMS NARROWLY MISS OUT ON POINT AT RED BULL RING
DAMS were unlucky to come away from Spielberg, Austria, with no points, after Tatiana Calderon battled to ninth in the GP3 Series Feature Race, before receiving a time penalty.
Sauber F1 Development Driver Calderon went from 19th to ninth in race one, but a five-second time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags dropped her to 13th.
Brazilian Bruno Baptista was handed the same penalty having come close to his first GP3 points, with Haas F1 Development Driver Santino Ferrucci suffering multiple setbacks after a positive start to the weekend.
Free Practice & Qualifying
Ferrucci got off to a flying start at the Red Bull Ring, posting the second quickest time in practice. However, a cracked tub meant the team had to rebuild the chassis and the American was 17th in qualifying following a set-up issue.
Colombian driver Calderon was 18th in practice, before going 19th fastest in qualifying despite being just seven-tenths off pole position.
In only his second GP3 Series race weekend, Baptista continued his steady progress, with the 20-year-old going 17th in practice and 16th in a tight qualifying session.
Santino Ferrucci: “Practice went really well, the car felt great and we were just a few hundredths off. We had to rebuild the chassis overnight and the set-up wasn’t right. With our grid position we knew we had work to do for the race.”
Tatiana Calderon: “We lacked some speed in practice, but we analysed the data and despite the position we improved in qualifying. Everyone was separated by just few tenths and there was definitely room for improvement.”
Bruno Baptista: “I continued to learn the car throughout practice and qualifying and was pretty happy with the pace. The times were extremely tight and there was certainly an opportunity to go forwards in the races.”
Feature & Sprint Races
24-year-old Calderon showed strong pace in the Feature Race, battling through to finish ninth, before a penalty for overtaking under yellow flags dropped her to 13th.
After retiring from race one with damage from earlier contact, 19-year-old Ferrucci fought through to 13th on Sunday, with overtaking around the 4.318 km circuit proving difficult.
A hectic Feature Race saw Baptista cross the line 12th, dropping to 13th after receiving his five-second time penalty for overtaking under a caution period. The GP3 rookie retired with damage in the Sprint Race.
Tatiana Calderon: “I made a lot of overtakes and showed good pace in the Feature Race and the performance was encouraging. I struggled with a flat spot in race two, but I’m confident of closing the gap to the top 10 in the coming rounds.”
Santino Ferrucci: “We had a good start in race one, but I was hit and the damage forced me to retire after five laps. Race two was much better, I produced some good passes and learned a lot about the car ahead of Silverstone.”
Bruno Baptista: “The first race was positive and I wasn’t too far off the top 10. I injured my back slightly in the Sprint Race, but it should be OK for Silverstone and hopefully I can challenge for my first GP3 points.”
François Sicard: “Ferrucci did a great job in practice to get second, but some damage from the aggressive kerbs meant we had to repair the chassis and the set-up wasn’t right for qualifying. This put him on the back-foot all weekend and no points is very disappointing. Calderon drove a great Feature Race and deserved to be in the top 10. For Silverstone the focus will be on improving her qualifying performance, so we can challenge further up the field. Baptista has the pace but he just needs to be more consistent, which will come with experience. Thankfully he is OK after his incident and will be ready to fight next weekend.”
Round three of the 2017 GP3 Series will take place at Silverstone, Great Britain (13-16 July).