Niko Kari secured his fourth podium finish of the season during Sunday’s final FIA European Formula 3 Championship race at the Nurburgring, but admitted the rest of the weekend was a bit hit and miss.
The Red Bull-backed Motopark driver secured points in all three races, taking eighth and tenth in the opening two races before one of his strongest performances all year where he finished third, less than a second shy of Prema Powerteam’s championship leader Lance Stroll.
“I was happy with Race 3, it was a good way to finish the weekend and we can build on that, do some more work with the car and find the little bits we need to challenge for the win,” said Kari.
“The weekend finished OK after a bit of an up-and-down start. In the first qualifying I had a little bit left but I got most out of the car in the second qualifying and the times were so close that a tenth would have put me second on the grid for Race 3.”
Kari admitted it was his own mistake that cost him time at the start of race two, when he almost stalled his Motopark car, but after the race his mechanics found that his rear wishbones were out of shape and the front anti-roll bar was damaged.
With the car repaid on Sunday, the sixteen-year-old Finn drove superbly for his podium, although he admitted he was never in a position to challenge Stroll or Prema during the race.
“In Race 2 I made a mistake at the start and almost stalled,” said Kari. “Then the car was just not right and we found out afterwards that two rear wishbones were bent and there was a problem with the front anti-roll bar.”
“So the guys fixed that for Race 3. This time I made a good start from P5, took a bit of a risk to go round the outside and got to third. I was looking at second but didn’t want to mess up the race at the second corner.
“I stayed third, chased as hard as I could and looked for any mistake that would give me the chance to overtake. But there wasn’t one and the car wasn’t really fast enough for me to force an opportunity.”