Young British racer Hector Hurst says he is happy with the speed he's shown during the past three race weekends as he continues to do well in his rookie FIA Formula Two Championship campaign.
The driver from Lymington in Hampshire made a consistent start to the season, scoring points in all of his first five races.
Then on his first visit to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, Hurst made stunning progress during Friday's running to finish the day with the third fastest time. An error in qualifying left him 16th on the grid for the first race, but he came through to finish ninth. Hurst picked up another points finish in race two, which was stopped early due to torrential rain. Those conditions had seen him hit by Dino Zamparelli under safety car conditions shortly before the red flag, but he was credited with ninth in the final results.
“At the beginning of practice we knew we had a bit of work to do, but by the end of the day, everything we had planned had come into place and we ended in the top three, without needing to use new tyres, so we knew we had the pace,” said Hurst.
“Things came apart a bit over the weekend, a culmination of me trying to be a bit too clever in qualifying and the car not being where I expected it to be in the race, meaning that the number of points we took from the weekend weren't as many as I expected, or should have got.”
Returning to home soil for the fifth round of the season at Brands Hatch, Hurst got things off to a great start with the second fastest time in first practice.
He only managed to qualify 12th, and then fell back further still with a poor getaway in wet conditions. But he then bounced back with a superb opening lap that saw him move up to ninth, before making further progress to move up to fourth as others struggled on the slippery surface. Unfortunately Hurst was later caught out too, running wide at Sheene and falling to seventh.
Hurst ran ninth early in the second race, but picked up damage following contact from Plamen Kralev that left him to finish down in 12th on his 20th birthday.
“Brands was similar to Spa, I was really strong and really happy with the car in practice, being up at the top, but then a combination of mistakes by myself and the team in qualifying over the two days meant we had to start in the middle rather than the front.
“I showed in the rain that we can be right up there, getting up to fourth, but I pushed too hard to try and get the good result and made a mistake, then on Sunday, we still hadn't sorted out the race pace from Spa, so we weren't quick enough to keep up with the front guys and that left me having to defend, ending up with the incident.”
One week later the series travelled back across the Channel and on to Paul Ricard in France. He finished the first race in ninth and was running in the same position in race two when his gearbox broke.
“For Ricard, we'd sorted out the car and I was happy with it throughout qualifying and the races. Everything was there, I was on good form but couldn't do anything exceptional, so we took some points but couldn't challenge for huge points. Finishing the weekend with a gearbox failure isn't what you want, but the positives are that I know I have a great car underneath me for the next race.”
While his results have not been as good as they could have been, the pace that Hurst has displayed over the summer has left him optimistic for the final two rounds of the season at the Hungaroring and Monza.
“Looking back, we've shown we can be as fast as anyone in the championship when everything is going well, in all different condition, but I've not had the experience to put that into practice everytime we've been out on track. I've now got to the point where I'm happy with the car in every situation, qualifying and race, so I think we've got the ingredients for a great end to the year.”