Triple pole, victory, championship lead: Making history in Hungary
Second victory of season for Maximilian Günther on debut at Hungaroring
Maximilian Günther claimed a historic success in the second round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Hungary.
With his victory on Saturday, the 18-year-old took the lead in the championship, which makes him the first German driver since Nico Hülkenberg in 2008 to emerge from a race weekend topping the championship table in the world’s most competitive junior racing series.
The Prema Powerteam driver put himself on course for success with three pole positions in qualifying on the Hungaroring F1™ circuit. Günther has now taken five poles in a row, a run only achieved by three previous drivers in the history of the Formula 3 European Championship.
Günther won the second race on his debut at the Hungaroring after finishing fifth in Race 1. In Sunday’s race, the German super talent was forced to retire while in the lead.
Maxi commented: “It’s a great feeling to be the first German leading the European Formula 3 Championship for almost ten years, no question about that. However, the championship lead is just a snapshot.
Nothing is decided until the end of the season, and we have another 24 races ahead of us. Obviously I am delighted that the international press are currently taking such a big interest in me. Statistics are not all that important to me personally, but holding the lead in the championship is the best vantage from which to prepare for the remainder of the season.”
The 18-year old is currently the only German driver in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. For us he is also “close to home” since he actually comes from the Allgäu region, not far from our beautiful Neuschwanstein castle.
Maximilian Günther summed up his weekend: “After my double pole in the season opener in France, I knew that we would have a good chance of competing for the front of the grid. But picking up all three poles was just fantastic. The Hungaroring is a very demanding track, and track limits play an important role. But I coped well with them. At the start of the second qualifying, I was stuck in traffic and blocked by an opponent for a while. Towards the end, it was really tight squeezing in two fast laps, but I managed it. First of all a big ‘thank you’ to my crew at Prema Powerteam for having set the car up so perfectly. After a good start, I was able to control the pace at the front and to pull out a decent gap. What’s more, I broke the Formula 3 lap record for this track – further evidence of the speed of our car. When I crossed the finish line, I had a lead of more than three seconds on the runner-up. This victory was also a nice gift for my mother who celebrated her birthday on Saturday.”
Christian Seitz, CEO and founder of The World of Neuschwansteiner said: “After his first victory in Paul Ricard we already were very proud of Maxi. Now he has even topped our expectations again! Very well done! We can’t wait to hear from his next races!”
Next race weekend: May 13-15 Pau, France
Maximilian Günther posted his first laps in a kart at the age of six. Success was not long in coming: As a nine-year-old in 2006, Maxi won the South Bavarian ADAC Kart Championship, becoming German ADAC kart champion in the following year.
After securing overall victory in the 2010 ADAC kart championship, Maxi moved up to the Formula BMW Talent Cup, becoming the youngest participant ever and secured second place overall at his first attempt. In both 2013 and 2014, he finished the season as championship runner-up in the hard-fought Formel ADAC. Maximilian has been supported by the ADAC Sports Foundation for the last two years.
In 2014, he was also accepted on the support programme run by the Deutsche Post Speed Academy, winning the accolade of top student at his first attempt.
Prema Powerteam are one of the most successful racing stables in Europe. They have claimed five consecutive championships in the most competitive Formula 3 series in the world with Roberto Merhi (2011), Daniel Juncadella (2012), Raffaele Marciello (2013), Esteban Ocon (2014) and Felix Rosenqvist (2015).
Jacques Villeneuve, Robert Kubica, Kamui Kobayashi, Merhi, Juncadella, Marciello and Ocon are just a few of their former drivers who subsequently made the step up to Formula 1 or the DTM. Prema Powerteam will once again be using the Formula 3 engine supplied by Mercedes-Benz in 2016.
The 250-horsepower F3 414 has won both the FIA Formula 3 Championship (in 2014 and 2015) and the prestigious Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix.
About The 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship
The 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship runs over ten race weekends in seven countries.
|Paul Ricard (WTCC / FRA)||01.04. – 03.04.2016|
|Hungaroring (WTCC / HUN)||22.04. – 24.04.2016|
|Pau (F3 GP / FRA)||13.05. – 15.05.2016|
|Spielberg (DTM / AUT)||20.05. – 22.05.2016|
|Norisring (DTM / GER)||24.06. – 26.06.2016|
|Zandvoort (DTM / NED)||15.07. – 17.07.2016|
|Spa-Francorchamps (Blancpain GT / BEL)||28.07. – 30.07.2016|
|Nürburgring (DTM / GER)||09.09. – 11.09.2016|
|Imola (ETCC / ITA)||30.09. – 02.10.2016|
|Hockenheim (DTM / GER)||14.10. – 16.10.2016|
Pictures curtesy of Mario Bartkowiak, Prema/Suer