Australian Mitchell Gilbert was overjoyed to score his first points of the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 Championship with a sixth placed finish in the first race at Hockenheim. The Fortec Motorsport driver took advantage of some troubles for drivers ahead of him but put on a great performance to place in the points.
“It’s a bit of a relief to get the points,” admitted Gilbert. “It’s so competitive, if you make one little mistake there’s someone there ready to take them off you. But it’s really good to get on the board; it gives you a good platform to build from. To be 12th, 13th, 14th in qualifying and to get up to sixth, or even be in the mix, is a really good effort. It’s a big step forward for us and it was a much better weekend all round. We have really evolved and we feel there’s more to come if we can keep this up.”
He utilised a different strategy at Hockenheim that improved his performance from that everyone saw at Silverstone that saw him finish a high of 13th. He also took some time during free practice to work on his starts, and it all paid dividend with the points finish.
“We went to Hockenheim with a new strategy and it made a big difference. We had a lot more grip at the end of the race and we were really coming at other drivers. I finished sixth after starting out in 12th place – there wasn’t really much more we could have done.
“It was a really good weekend all in all. I thought the penalty in the third race was pretty harsh, but we were much faster and with a little more luck could have been Top 10 again. If we can sort out qualifying, we’ll be right up there again this week, I’m sure.”
He now looks ahead to this weekends meeting at the legendary street circuit of Pau in France, but admits he has never raced at the track before, but he hopes to be able to build on the performance he showed at Hockenheim to score more points.
“I’ve not been to this track, I don’t think many of the drivers have. But all we have to do is not push too hard in qualifying and we can definitely make the Top 6 again. I’m hoping to carry on from where we left off this week and get some more points on the board.”