Jake Hughes produced a dominant display in Saturday's race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to claim his first win of this season's FIA Formula 3 Championship for HWA RACELAB.
Jake Hughes made a perfect start to the race weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with an impressive qualifying display on Friday. He was involved in a lengthy, two-way battle for pole position, ultimately qualifying in second place and missing out on pole position by just 0.111 seconds.
On Saturday, Jake made a good start to the race and stayed hot on the tail of the race leader. Jake soon found his pace and put race leader, Logan Sargeant, under pressure.
He closed to within touching distance on lap seven, courtesy of the fastest lap of the race, and skilfully used his DRS at the end of the long straights. This allowed Jake to overtake his rival on the outside of turn one and take the lead. Jake then set about opening a lead, but a safety car phase on lap nine allowed the chasing pack to close the gap again.
However, lightning-fast reactions at the restart allowed the 26-year-old to establish a gap ahead of his rivals and ensure that they were not within DRS range. Jake's pace remained strong as he set the fastest lap of the race on lap 13.
By lap 18, his lead was already more than two seconds. The talented Brit refused to be denied his victory and crossed the finishing line 2.388 seconds clear of second place after 22 laps of racing.
In doing so, he earned HWA RACELAB its first win of this season's FIA Formula 3 Championship. After Jake's success in Spielberg last year, this was the team from Affalterbach's second victory in the junior series. First place and the fastest lap of the race were rewarded with 27 points towards the championship standings.
Sunday's race featured a reverse grid, meaning Jake started from tenth place. He did not have an easy start, was sandwiched between rival cars and was hit by another car. Jake dropped back to eleventh place, before the safety car made an appearance following a crash. Jake showed his class at the restart, reacting quickly to gain one position.
However, he was not presented with any further opportunities to make progress at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is a tough circuit to overtake at. As such, Jake came home tenth to claim another valuable point.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship resumes on 29th and 30th August with two races at Spa-Francorchamps. Jake now sits in 7th place in the championship standings with 63.5 points.
"I am overjoyed with the first win of the year. The work we put in between the two weekends in Silverstone is paying off now. The car is very good, which is allowing us to consistently keep pace with the leaders. That gives us the opportunity to win races, as we did on Saturday.
The car was really nice to drive in the first race, and there were no issues with the tyres. I was able to push at first and then to manage the lead. Everything came together nicely. I had the pace to pull it off. I'd like to say a big thank you to the whole team!
On Sunday, I lost a place in the hectic opening stages, when some of the driving was dubious. I then made it back into the points after the safety car re-start. I could do no more than that in the difficult track conditions, as everyone else was also able to use DRS. Despite this, I still picked up another point. That made it 28 points for the weekend, and I have really climbed the championship standings. I am more than happy and looking forward to Spa."
Photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency