Dennis Hauger predicts that he and his fellow 21 drivers could be for a hectic afternoon in Qualifying around Zandvoort, but he’s optimistic that he can take the lessons learnt last time out in Spa to return to the points.
Two red flag periods left the PREMA Racing driver facing a very stop-start session, but fortunately for him he was able to overcome that obstacle as well as gravel and traffic in order to clock in the fifth-fastest time. Hauger acknowledged that it was a solid foundation to build upon.
“P5 was not too bad of a result, we were testing stuff and just getting a feel for the track. Obviously, it’s the first time F2 cars have been around here, so we’re trying to figure things out for Qualifying. There’s a lot of stuff to think about, but overall, a decent session.”
Usually, it’s the returning drivers who have the upper hand when the Championship heads to new locations. However, this time around, Formula 2’s debut on the Dutch circuit hands the advantage over to Hauger and his fellow Formula 3 graduates, who raced there last year – with the Norwegian taking victory in the third and final race of the weekend.
Despite his prior knowledge giving him somewhat of an advantage over the returning driver, Hauger believes that two cars are completely different animals, and the old-school nature of the track will be putting them to their physical limits.
“F2 is rather different to Formula 3 in terms of how to handle the car and everything. From the banking and up into Turn 3 with an F2 car was quite heavy. Even F3 drivers last year said it was heavy for them but wasn’t really that bad for me, probably this year is going to be a bit different. It was not too bad in Free Practice, but I’m definitely going to feel it on Sunday especially when we’re doing almost 40 laps. It’s going to be interesting to see in terms of tyre degradation and probably a bit of physical degradation as well.”
Swapping over to the soft compound, managing both sets of the red-walled rubber won’t be the only challenge that awaits them. Given what unfolded in Practice earlier, Hauger is under no illusions – things could get chaotic, and he’s determined to extract the maximum one-lap pace on every chance he has knowing that depending on how things unfold, he might not have many.
“It’s going to be important to sit down, look over everything and try to get everything clear before we head out. It was a bit messy in Practice, so I really expect something similar in Qualifying. I’ll just try to make every lap count.
“I think we figured out some small things in Spa and we’ve tried to bring them into this weekend. It looked to be better but we don’t know for sure before Qualifying. I’ll try to take it from there, have a good Qualifying and that will make the weekend a lot easier.”