Formula 3: pole and podium for Arthur Leclerc

Budapest 01 agosto 2021

The Monegasque Ferrari Driver Academy student was a front-runner throughout the Hungaroring weekend. Arthur took pole position and finished second in Race 3.

Arthur Leclerc was a front-runner in the Formula 3 round at the Hungaroring, securing his first pole position in the category and finishing second in the main race of the weekend, when heavy rain falling just before the start made for tricky track conditions. “It was only the second time ever that I have driven a Formula 3 car on wets,” commented Arthur. “In the opening laps, I tried to get into a good rhythm and then my team-mate Denis Hauger overtook me and I tried to stick as close as possible to him. Then, the Safety Car effectively ended the race. After starting from pole, it’s a bit disappointing to finish second, especially looking at it in terms of the rest of the season.”

Qualifying. It was very hot as the 30 drivers went out on track for qualifying, with air temperature being 33 degrees and the track an extremely high 65. It meant drivers were limited to two flying laps – one per set of tyres – knowing that the slightest problem or mistake would come at a high cost. On his first run, Leclerc did a perfect laps to go top in 1’33”164, fastest of all in the second and third sectors. The time gaps were very small as the drivers tackled their final run and again, on his second set of tyres, Leclerc was quickest to take a well deserved pole position, his first so far in his short time in Formula 3. 

Race-1. Because of the reversed grid and a three place penalty imposed at the Spielberg round, Leclerc started the first race from 15th. He lost two places after the start, but managed to get back to 13th before the Safety Car came out. The race resumed with two laps remaining and Leclerc tried to move up to 12th, which would have ensured he started from pole in race 2, pushing very hard in the closing stages. But he just missed out by 67 thousandths as the chequered flag fell.

Race-2. The second race followed a similar script to the first. Arthur started from 13th place and finished 11th, just three tenths of a second outside the top ten. “As was clear already from the first race, it was impossible to gain places in the middle of the pack,” explained Leclerc. “I managed to pass Doohan when he slowed as his tyres went off, but generally this is a difficult track to make up ground.”

Race-3. The final race of the weekend was affected by heavy rain falling a few minutes before the start and the Race Director opted for a rolling start behind the Safety Car. In very tricky conditions, Leclerc kept the lead from pole. The track gradually dried out and on lap 8, Hauger took the lead at Turn 3. In second place, Leclerc gradually built up a comfortable gap over third-placed Doohan. He was a second down on Hauger, waiting to attack in the closing stages. However, with two laps remaining, a collision between Ido Cohen and Lazio Toth meant the positions remained unchanged as the race ended behind the Safety Car.

Spa-Francorchamps. Following on from Budapest, it’s now time for the Formula 3 summer break. The action resumes at Spa-Francorchamps from 27 to 29 August with the fifth round of the season.