Jüri Vips secured his first FIA Formula 3 win in Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria over the weekend, leaping two positions from third. The win also marked Hitech GP’s first race win this season.
Setting the Pace
The Hitech trio of Vips, Pulcini and Yifei swarmed onto the 4.318km Spielberg circuit in a battle to top the time sheets in Friday afternoons qualifying session. Vips and Pulcini hauled themselves up to third and fourth respectively in the final few minutes of the session, ahead of the brief break in action, as a red flag was called due to an incident on the track. The team qualified in P3, P6 and P21, setting their starting positions for Race 1 the following day.
Starting in P3, Vips overcame a frantic start and clung onto his position, both attacking and defending well. The Estonian withheld his position after making a strong race-start, storming into P2 in the first few minutes of the race. By lap 5 the Estonian dived into the lead at Turn 3, effortlessly guiding the field of 30 drivers behind him. Vips secured Hitech’s first win in the FIA F3 Championship, holding a 1.7s gap. Pulcini defended the field to finish in P9, whilst Yifei finished in P21.
Race 2 started on Sunday morning, marking the final race of the Austrian GP weekend. In the early stages of the race, Yifei became beached due to contact, bringing out a virtual safety car.
Yifei was forced to retire from the race. Pulcini rose up the order of the 40-minute race, securing 5th. Vips finished in P6, adding the invaluable points to the tally, pushing the team back up into 3rd in the Championship standings.
Jüri Vips: “The early pace was very good. I don’t know if the others were under-pushing or already struggling by then but we had the pace over them in the first few laps. I got past Max because he had to defend from me in the first two laps so he didn’t have the DRS from Marcus, so that was kind of an easier move. Marcus was quite difficult. It was quite good because the last DRS detection zone before Turn 4 is just before Turn 3, so if you try to overtake under braking the other guy will normally have the DRS on you, but I made sure I went very late so I could go past him. He would probably have got me back but I’d still have the DRS. I was really happy with what I did there and then it was a really hard race after. Every lap Max had the DRS on me and I knew that if I made one mistake then he would overtake me because the gain you get with the DRS is massive. It’s like six or seventh tenths on all the three straights or something like that. It was a perfect race and it really feels good.”