Callum Ilott took his fifth victory of the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship season at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, although he was thankful that his team were able to make a full hub switch between qualifying and race one due to damage.
The kerbs at the Austrian track are notorious for causing damage to cars, but Ilott’s Prema Powerteam outfit came fully prepared, and he was able to take his grid slot on Saturday morning before going on to take the victory ahead of Joel Eriksson.
“The circuit’s kerbs are notorious for inflicting damage and luckily we came prepared just in case. The guys worked really hard overnight to make sure I was back out on track,” says Ilott.
“The least I could do was re-fuel them with the strongest coffee I could find. A win was the best way to thank the guys who worked until the early hours to make sure I could take up my pole grid slot.”
After finishing fourth in race two on Sunday morning, Ilott was confident of concluding the weekend with another strong result in Sunday’s final race, only to find himself running across the gravel trap on the opening lap after a battle with Ralf Aron, and he now admits bettering fourth in the championship will be difficult at the season finale next month.
“I’m really gutted not to score points in the last race as up until then, we’d had a good weekend and I had closed the gap to second in the championship,” said Ilott. “Finishing in the top three is now going to be a little tougher but I enjoy Hockenheim and love a challenge.
“Despite being forced to retire in Race 3, I outscored all my team mates again and I am really pleased that we also increased Prema’s 90 point lead in the Team Championship, which we are aiming to win for the seventh time.”