By crossing the finish line at Saturday’s sole Sochi Sprint Race in fourth place, Jake Hughes achieved HWA RACELAB’s best-ever result in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Hughes started the race from fifth on the grid, which he secured via the reverse grid order from Qualifying. Early on in the race, he was promoted up one position to fourth when Hitech Grand Prix’s Liam Lawson retired.
The Briton even had a look at a podium finish, battling with local favourite Robert Shwartzman mid-way through the race after the PREMA Racing driver made a mistake at Turn 10.
HWA joined the Champpionship at the start of the 2020 campaign, with Giuliano Alesi’s sixth finish on its debut sitting as its best result until Hughes’ result on Saturday.
“I’ve just heard that, I just read that it’s the best result for the team… it’s a nice feeling,” Hughes said. “The race was obviously quite strong. I think it was very difficult for everybody to keep the car on the track, as you could see with a few of the guys.
“Me being in P4, I was pushing but trying to bring the car home at the same time. It looked like Robert (Shwartzman) was taking a lot of risks and he made his mistake at Turn 10.
“The problem with Turn 13 is it’s hard to actually know which side is actually the best to defend because Turn 12, you want the inside for Turn 13 but then you give the dry braking line to the guy on the inside.
“I went to the right. I knew I could stop the car on the damp side and Robert sent it, to be fair to him, so he deserves it. It’s not a shame, because P4 is a mega result, but we were close. We’ll get another go at it tomorrow.”
Hughes’ run towards the front-end of the grid came as a result of a strong Qualifying performance, which sees him line up in sixth place for the start of Sunday’s Feature Race.
Although HWA has lacked on-track performance compared to its rivals since joining the grid, Hughes believes progress has been made over the last two race weekends.
“We were already quite confident heading into Quali. We had a problem in practice which didn’t enable us to get a good feeling for the car, so we were a bit blind,” Hughes admitted.
“But the car has actually felt good every time I’ve done a push lap after Free Practice this weekend. I actually wasn’t so surprised we managed to put it together in Quali.
“I think the team has been a bit unfortunate. In the championship, you don’t get a lot of time testing to really learn the car. If they don’t get shown the right direction of where to go with the set-up it’s really hard to know what to do.
“I’ve tried to do my best this weekend, Monza as well, giving my feedback to the team and my feeling. It seems to be that it’s going in a good direction and we’re building something quite nicely now. Obviously it’s a bit late in the year, but it’s still nice to get results for them.”