Dennis Hauger had it all to do in Saturday’s Sprint Race, starting down in P19 and carving his way through the field to ninth. Whilst his efforts weren’t rewarded with points, the PREMA Racing driver is optimistic that the pace he showed is a positive sign for progress he can make in the Feature Race.
Considering Monza’s layout and the mix of long straights and tight chicanes, the Red Bull junior admitted that he had to be strategic in his approach, with patience being a virtue in an action-packed race.
“Obviously, a tough day on Friday with a mistake on my lap that cost us a bit of a better position at least, still not in the top but better. We made it a lot harder for this weekend, but things still got a bit more comfortable into this race and managed to play it a bit smart, I think.
“In terms of it’s such a train here, so you gotta be a bit patient sometimes, but our pace overall was not bad and managed to just take it one by one. Overall, a clean one and I think Sunday as well, it’s gonna be longer and hopefully, we can just keep the progression going.”
Most importantly for the Norwegian was keeping himself out of trouble. As several drivers tripped over each other all the way to the chequered flag, Hauger was pleased to have made the most of the slipstream to climb up the order.
“It was not easy because obviously everyone is fighting for position and it’s hard braking around here, so if you’re tight it’s not easy to keep everything clean and try to minimise the race time by not fighting too much ‘cause you want to stay in the DRS. At some places, I think Pourchaire and Lawson coming together, you saw those types of opportunities is the main thing here.
“I think we maximised it on that side so happy with that and so I just gotta stay in the tow for tomorrow I think as well. Starting from the back again, it’s obviously not easy but we got through the field today and hopefully, we can sort of do something similar for Sunday.”
Looking ahead to the Feature Race, Hauger believes that unlike previous rounds, strategy will not be the main deciding factor. Instead, it’ll be down to the drivers and staying out of the fray across the 30 laps.
“It depends on what lots of people are on in front of me, but there weren’t too many Safety Cars today and there was really low deg on the track as well. I don’t know how much of a difference it’s gonna make strategy-wise. There can be some risks starting on the mediums, but in the end, it all depends on Safety Cars and what other people are doing.”