After a great weekend in Pau, Australian racer Mitchell Gilbert endured a frustrating weekend in Hungary that dented his progress during the 2014 season of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
The 20-year-old Fortec Motorsport driver could not find the pace to match his fifth place finish in Pau in Hungary, and the Australian could only take two points away from the Hungaroring for a ninth place finish in the first race of the weekend.
“We tried different things in the first qualifier and the first race to try to work out what was wrong, but we couldn’t find the pace we had before and I couldn’t keep up with the group in front of me,” admitted Gilbert. “It was a positive that even on a difficult weekend when things aren’t going right we can still finish ninth.”
During the second race, Gilbert finished just outside the points in eleventh having started fourteenth. In race three however, he had climbed from sixteenth up into twelfth when he was handed a drive-through penalty for exceeding the limits of the track too often, and this relegated him to the back of the field.
“The drive through was harsh I thought, but at least it let me have a clear run when the pace was almost back to where it had been,” said Gilbert. “The set up didn’t seem to be right, so it was tough. We needed to have everything together for qualifying, but we were a long way off.
“It ended on a fairly positive note which was something and to get in the points when you’re off the pace is a good effort. [But] it was a case of one-step forward; two steps back, so it was disappointing. We were a long way away from where we have been and where we know we should be.
“After such a good weekend in Pau, it was pretty frustrating to have fallen so far – it was a shock to everyone. We couldn’t quite put our finger on what was wrong. There was an electronics problem in the first practice, but after that we didn’t have the same pace we’ve had.
“There were at least some positive signs towards the end of the weekend when we were seventh fastest, it just came too late to make any difference this time. We are going to try to get a test in before the next race to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. Hopefully we will be back to where we were by the next round.”
The next round takes place at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on 21st and 22nd June.