It was another productive weekend for Matthieu Vaxiviere at the Hungaroring, with the Frenchman finishing fifth and seventh over the two Formula Renault 3.5 Series races in Hungary. He has now scored points for his Lotus team in three of the four races since his return to the series since his back injury caused by a crash in Monaco in May
Qualifying on Saturday went well for the Frenchman, with Vaxiviere finishing a seasons-best fourth. Unfortunately he lost some ground early in the wet race with his tyre pressures being too low, but he responded to finish fifth, a result he was very happy with.
“On my first set of tyres in qualifying, I set the second best time,” said Vaxiviere. “The switch to new tyres at the end of the session left me in fourth place, which was my best qualifying result of the season. It is a true positive point because we were on pace with the best split time in sector 2 and an ideal lap could have put me on pole, if the session hadn’t been cut short.
“Then, the opening laps of the race were difficult because my tyre pressures were too low. I lost time early in the race, but I finished fifth, which is very satisfying!”
On Sunday, the rain struck just ahead of qualifying, which meant a tricky session was in prospect. Unfortunately for Vaxiviere, he was unable to make the most of the session, finding himself baulked on his quick lap that meant he would start fifteenth. He had a great race however, moving up the order after a late pit stop, and kept current championship leader Carlos Sainz Jr honest over the final few laps before finishing seventh.
“On Sunday, the first set of tyres on a drying track surface worked brilliantly because I was leading halfway through qualifying,” insisted Vaxiviere. “We were a little unlucky because after the red flag we went back out on slicks for two laps. I was blocked and I finished down in 15th place.
“In the race, I did a really good job at the first braking point to move up six places and run in the top ten. The pit stop was decent, but we still need to improve in this area to pick up more positions. Then, I made a superb pass on Jaafar before pressuring Sainz. When you run within a tenth of a second on this circuit, you lose a lot of aerodynamics.
“We had a good weekend, one solid race. We were just a bit unlucky, but we are regularly among the leaders. If we continue in this direction, it will eventually pay off. I hope to get another podium result at Paul Ricard, where I won to become French F4 Champion, three years ago.”