Ilott moves into title contention following strong Austria weekend

Callum Ilott - Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Callum Ilott secured his second victory of the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 Championship in the opening race of the Red Bull Ring weekend, but admitted his trip to the podium was difficult with the condition of the drivers involved in the horror crash that caused the race to be halted unknown at that time.

The Van Amersfoort Racing driver had led from start to finish in the opening race on the back of his first pole position in the championship, but the race-ending crash between Ryan Tveter, Zhi Cong Li and Pedro Piquet muted the podium celebrations afterwards.

“It was very difficult heading to the podium, not knowing all the detail of their condition,” said Ilott. “I now know Ryan and Pedro are both doing OK, and I wish Peter Li all the best and a speedy recovery from his injuries.”

Ilott lost a second place finish in race two after becoming one of a number of drivers across the weekend to fall foul of exceeding track limits by the stewards, although the British driver did not believe he had transgressed any more than any of the drivers around him.

“It was frustrating, especially as it came after the race had finished and I didn’t think I’d used more of the run-off area than my rivals,” insisted Ilott.

“With so many track limit penalties being handed out there seemed to be some inconsistencies initially, and only after a meeting between the team managers and officials after race 2, was the process made clear and consistently applied to all drivers in race 3.”

Ilott did return to the podium for Sunday’s final race, ending up in second place behind Lance Stroll, with the former Red Bull-backed driver now sitting second in the championship behind the Canadian.

“With the risk of a further penalty firmly in my mind, knowing how damaging it would be, I was so careful,” said Ilott about his race three performance.

“I would have preferred to push harder and attack Lance rather than just having to drive around, staying within the lines, but the stewards were rigid on any mistakes and a few points lost might be crucial come the end of the season.”