MP Motorsport’s Red Bull Junior Team driver Dennis Hauger finished the Sprint Race in fourth position but felt the result wasn’t a true representation of the team’s actual race pace.

A pre-race downpour forced everyone to make last minute changes and fit the wet weather Pirelli tyres. Along with a rolling start, poor visibility courtesy of the plumes of spray from cars ahead made for a tricky opening phase of the race. From that point on, Hauger felt comfortable but couldn’t hold on to a podium place after Théo Pourchaire deprived him of third late on.

“A bit of a gamble in the beginning, we weren’t sure if it was going to be wet or dry,” Hauger surmised. “In the end everyone just tried to switch to a wet setup for the rain tyres. In the beginning we struggled a bit but after that, we settled down a bit compared to the leaders at least. I didn’t quite have the pace to go for the lead at least. I was pretty happy with P3 at the time.

“Then the Safety Car came out and it dried out so much. I wanted to pit a lap earlier when Pourchaire pitted but we tried to wait in case something happened. I think Pourchaire won a bit on that because he got a bit more temperature by running one more lap which probably helped him a lot for the first lap after the Safety Car.

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“A bit of an annoying situation, just getting pushed out of the podium but in the end, at least it’s some decent points in a Sprint Race where everything was happening. We know it’s the type of thing where things have to go your way. We stayed in a calm position and didn’t take any risks. P4 was easy but hopefully it’s dry tomorrow so we can do something good.”

Those opening exchanges laid the foundation to a dramatic ending to the race. While some drivers found grip immediately in the wet conditions, others were skating around. Hauger reported that he was just “drifting” in the middle phase of the first stint. That was largely down to not knowing where the best grip lay on the track, having had just a single lap behind the Safety Car prior to the rolling start.

READ MORE: SPRINT RACE: Vesti puts on wet weather masterclass and resists late Pourchaire charge

“Especially on the first few laps, it was just completely blind on the straight, so it wasn’t easy to get a reference point and find the grip. After a while it settled down and it was a bit easier. With the grip and everything in the end, only having one lap behind the Safety Car before the start, it wasn’t easy with the grip and not knowing exactly to expect going into the first lap. Not easy but it was a fun race which gave the drivers a bit of everything, so that was cool.”

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Turning his focus over to Sunday’s Feature Race, Hauger says that despite the lack of race runs so far this weekend with a disrupted Free Practice session, the Norwegian is optimistic. The Saturday downpour will have reduced the rubber built up over the course of the weekend so far, but Hauger says MP has a good race car underneath them in terms of dry weather race pace.

“We don’t have so many race runs during this weekend, but we have a few from testing here so still know sort of what to expect. It’s always a bit different now, especially after some rain. Hopefully if it’s dry tomorrow, it’ll be a pretty green track without much grip. The tyre degradation will be a difficult factor and different to how it has been so far for us. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll just do my race and hopefully we can do something good.

READ MORE: Verschoor upbeat after ‘unusual’ Sprint race but outright pace remains a weakness

“Honestly the win is the aim. I think we have good pace in the race, it’s just about having a decent start and if it’s dry, I think we’ve got a good chance to do something up there. I think we could have gone forward today as well, but without DRS it was very difficult after the first lap. We’ll look at the data and try to focus on tomorrow.”