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This is what happened: Results and facts
On to Baku: This year’s Azerbaijani Grand Prix will only be the second time that the Baku City Circuit has hosted a Formula 1 race. The debut #event last year was dominated by Germany’s Nico Rosberg who went on to win the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship. He came away with the treble of victory, pole position and fastest race lap at this newest venue on the race calendar. Next weekend, F1 returns to Baku where, unlike last year when the race was designated the European Grand Prix, it will officially be contested as the first Azerbaijani Grand Prix.
Private and sporting moments of happiness: What a week for Paul Di Resta! The Scottish driver has just experienced some exhausting, eventful and ultimately exhilarating days. The first of these happy moments came on Monday when his new daughter Perla saw the light of day. “Hopefully I can carry forward these positive emotions from my private life into the race weekend,” he said last week. A man of his word. Just five days later, Paul lifted the first of what will hopefully be many winners’ trophies for little Perla into the sky above the Hungaroring. Although early on in the race, the chances of Paul claiming his eighth #dtm victory had looked remote. But an early pit stop on Lap 6 and a safety car deployment at just the right time allowed him to progress through the field from a lowly P13 on the grid to victory – his first since the opening fixture of the 2016 season and the eighth of his #dtm career to date. “Sometimes, fortune favours the brave,” said the new dad with a wry smile.
An unconventional type of city tour: On Thursday before the race weekend at the Hungaroring, Gary Paffett joined fellow #dtm drivers Mattias Ekström and Augusto Farfus in staging some thunderous demo runs in the city centre. The fans were extra motivated for the #racing action on Saturday and Sunday and were delighted when the #dtm stars also took the time to sign autographs and pose for selfies. It was a repeat of the show laid on in early May when Robert Wickens paraded his Mercedes-AMG C 63 #dtm through the streets of Budapest. On that occasion, he was accompanied by Valtteri Bottas, fresh from his Grand Prix win in Russia the day before, who also performed a few donuts for the city centre crowds.
Two victories in Budapest: The FIA Formula 3 European Championship was contested at the Hungaroring in the framework of the recent #dtm weekend. In the first race, Maximilian Günther and Jake Hughes registered a one-two win for cars powered by the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Formula 3 engine. “As I’ve said right from the start, consistency is the key to having a successful season,” said Günther, who is also the test and substitute driver for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport #dtm Team. “And with twelve points-scoring results from the twelve races so far, I’m well on the way.” The second race was also won a Mercedes-powered car, this time with Callum Ilott at the wheel. The 18-year-old from Cambridge took the runner-up spot in the third of the three races in Hungary. Illott is now up to third in the championship behind Günther.
Top Ten placements in the Le Mans Cup: The Le Mans Cup was contested over two 55-minute races in the context of the 24 Heures du Mans weekend. RAM #racing drivers Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR) and Leonard Remon Vos (NED) in the number 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 took fourth place. The all-British duo of Lee Mowle and Phil Keen scored valuable championship points with a sixth-place finish in the second race. The customer #racing team of Lee Mowle Motorsport currently ranks second in the drivers’ and team championships. Meanwhile, Larbre Competition were recording another Top Ten result for the brand, with a P8 finish by the number 50 SLS #amg GT3 driven by Franck Labescat and Christian Philippon (both FRA) in the second race.
Three questions for Paul Di Resta
Budapest was a magnificent weekend for you. It must have come as a great relief…
Paul Di Resta: The relief was indeed great, and the victory came at a crucial time in the season. Towards the midway point of the campaign, the main title contenders begin to emerge. After this weekend, I’ve edged a bit closer to them. It’s good to carry through some momentum for the Norisring at this critical stage. I’m hoping to put in another strong showing there. It’s not yet clear whether one of the potential title contenders in the shape of Mattias Ekström will be missing. Personally, I would never skip a race. If you sign up for a #racing series, you should also compete on all of the race weekends. I think, though, that he will be driving at the Norisring. My gut feeling tells me that Audi currently have no clear title challenger. But in any case, that doesn’t affect me. We intend to beat them one way or another in a fair fight.
Are you surprised that, after six races, there are so many drivers so close to each other at the top of the championship?
Paul Di Resta: Yes, it's very tight. But that’s exactly what we wanted. The new tyre regulations are playing a key role here. You can adopt completely different strategies, and your grid position is not necessarily going to be the same as your race result. If you take an aggressive approach, it sometimes pays off – just like in Budapest on Saturday. Or also at the Lausitzring, when some Audi drivers pitted on the first lap. The drivers and teams are making bold decisions, but the most important thing is to come away with as many points as you can if you have a strong package. After a difficult weekend at the Lausitzring, it was important for me to strike back in Budapest. Especially considering that I missed out on a podium in the second race at #hockenheim through bad luck. This time, though, luck was on my side. That’s how it is in motor #racing. #people don’t remember how your season started, but only how it ended.
When do you think we will see which drivers are in line for the championship this year? Might it be as late as the grand finale to the season at Hockenheim?
Paul Di Resta: The way things are going at the moment, I would say that there will still be a number of drivers in with a chance of the title when we get to #hockenheim. The critical point in the championship for me is the penultimate race weekend at Spielberg – you never know what is going to happen on that track. I’m looking forward to the title fight. As a driver, you revel in such challenges. Ideally, of course, you'd like to leave the rest of the field standing. But I remember that, in my championship-winning season of 2010, I didn’t get off to the best of starts. On the other hand, though, the end of the season was all the more impressive. We know that we have a strong car, but there are still a lot of things we have to learn about it.
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