Despite demonstrating strong pace across the weekend, more misfortune spelt another difficult weekend for Jake Hughes during the third round of the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship at the Hungaroring.
After a less than fruitful two weeks in Austria, Jake arrived in Budapest looking to capitalise on the natural pace and performance shown previously but was once again denied through poor luck and misfortune. The weekend started positively with Jake posting the fourth fastest time in Practice on Friday morning but the change in weather conditions brought heavy rain to the circuit and delayed the qualifying session until Friday evening.
When the session did eventually get underway, all three HWA RACELAB cars were hampered by the abysmal conditions and unable to challenge for pole position, leaving Jake to qualify in 21st place for Saturday morning’s race.
Disaster struck on the opening lap of the first race when Jake picked up a puncture and was forced to limp back to the pits for a replacement set of tyres. After rejoining the race at the back of the field, his attempts to stage a fightback were curtailed after receiving a penalty for exceeding the maximum speed under the safety car. In spite of that, Jake set the fastest lap of the race on his way to finishing P24, showing the 26-year-old’s true pace.
Set with further tricky weather conditions on Sunday morning, Jake made an electric getaway from the start line to climb from P24 to P15 on the opening tour of the 4.3km Hungaroring circuit. An unfortunate spin at the penultimate corner on the third lap relegated Jake to the back of the field once again but he eventually managed to recover to P19 by the chequered flag to round off the first triple-header of the season.
The championship will now take a one-week break before reconvening for two races at Jake’s home circuit of Silverstone in Great Britain, beginning on the weekend of 31 July - 2 August.
“It’s a shame to come away from another weekend with little to show for our efforts. The pace was there once again but luck still wasn’t on our side regardless of what we could achieve. We can take comfort in the fact that we know we have the speed and pace to perform well and compete at the sharp end of the grid - we just need everything to fall into place and the results we deserve will soon start to come.
The weather really held us back as a team in qualifying so we were always going to have some work to do come Saturday morning. I made a really good start in that first race, climbing up to P13 but the puncture put paid to any hopes we had of a good finish - from there it was just trying to recover as much ground as we could.
Again I had a great start on Sunday and made up places but I simply pushed a bit too hard, too early on the wet track and lost the car. I managed to regain a few places afterwards as the car felt great but we were just too far down the order to make anything of it.
I’m looking forward to going home and relaxing before Silverstone, having two weekends on home soil isn’t something that happens often and if we can get the car where our pace deserves then we can definitely pull together some strong results.”
Photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency