A hat trick of second places ensured Nick Cassidy left Paul Ricard as the leader of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship standings, but it could have been an even better weekend for the Kiwi after twice losing the race lead.
The Prema Powerteam driver led both the Saturday races at the French circuit, but was forced to settle for second on both occasions due to small errors that cost him.
Cassidy lead the opening lap of the season but a small error with his gear shifting exiting the final corner made him easy prey for Prema team-mate Lance Stroll into the first turn, and from thereon in he was forced to settle to following his Canadian team-mate.
“For me, the first few metres in race 1 were very good, although my starts over the winter had been terrible and I wasn’t too confident either,” said Cassidy. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake when shifting at the end of the opening lap and hence I lost the lead again.
“After that, overtaking proved to be difficult, even though my car was really good. This weekend, conditions are changing all the time, but the team always had the right answer.”
Cassidy also led during race two, but a mistake on a track that was getting wetter due to light rain falling saw him drop behind eventual winner Callum Ilott and Guanyu Zhou, but whereas he got past Zhou, he was unable to recover to the lead.
“In race 2 I was surprised by myself and by the speed I had, because I was using my oldest set of tyres,” said Cassidy. “In the opening stages, defending first place proved quite a challenge, but things got better as the race went on.
“Later on, I made a mistake in turn six when the track got more slippery due to the rain. That was really annoying, because I was in control. At least, I was able to salvage second place on the final lap after the restart.”
Cassidy followed in the wheel tracks of another of his Prema team-mates during the final race of the weekend on Sunday, ultimately being forced to settle for second once more despite attacking Maximilian Günther into the final corner on the final lap.
“I gave it all I had,” insisted Cassidy. “My speed was good and I also managed to keep the performance of the tyres up throughout the race.
“In the final corner, I made an attack on Maximilian, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. However, it would have been nice had he left me a little more room there.
“All in all, however, I am happy with this result and also with the weekend in general.”