Daniel Ticktum took his third victory of the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 Championship season at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday and left the Belgian track just a point off the championship lead.
The Red Bull Junior Team racer started the weekend by finishing fourth in race one but the Motopark driver took a twenty-second penalty for a first turn incident that eliminated Nikita Troitskiy and compromised Sacha Fenestraz’s race, although Ticktum felt the penalty did not justify the crime after the kerb on the inside of the turn unsettled his Dallara.
“It happened at turn 1, the guy in front braked way early and I had to dive to the inside to avoid hitting him,” said Ticktum. “That put me up the kerb, the car bottomed out, I lost steering and went straight on into a collision.
“There was nothing I could do about it, the replay looked worse than it was and a 20 second penalty feels worse than it should have been. I seem to have a bit of a target on my back as far as penalties go. On track I enjoyed the race and getting through to fourth showed the pace we had.”
Ticktum recovered superbly in race two, climbing from tenth and climbed right through the field to claim his third victory of the season, overcoming a strong challenge from team-mate Fabio Scherer, which at the time gave him the lead of the championship standings.
“It was a lot of fun, the car was great and it was an intense battle with my team mate Fabio,” said Ticktum. “He put me under a lot of pressure and I couldn’t afford any mistakes.
“There was a lot of pressure in that race both on and off the track and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.”
Ticktum admitted he got his tyres pressures wrong for the start of race three and it took a while to get his race three truly underway, and as a result he could only manage fifth, while gave Marcus Armstrong the opportunity to return to the head of the standings.
“We got the pressures wrong and I had no grip at all for the first five laps,” said Ticktum. “Everyone was struggling for grip in places but I had no grip at all early in the race.
“By the time it improved the lead pack had got away and I had just to work for the points. A shame as I think we should have been on for a podium.”