Following the highs of his maiden Formula 2 victory on Saturday, Dennis Hauger pinned his hopes of another strong performance around Monte Carlo on the alternative strategy in the Feature Race.
Unfortunately for the PREMA driver, a rapid start to climb from ninth to fifth on the opening lap failed to yield the points haul he expected. Traffic and a mid-race Safety Car undid most of his efforts and he eventually settled for seventh.
Speaking after the race, Hauger was disappointed by the unlucky turn of events given how strongly things looked early on, but felt that he made the most of what he could at a circuit that is notoriously difficult to overtake on.
“I felt like I had a good race, but stuff didn't go our way,” he noted. “(I was) up to P5 straightaway and I think in Monaco that's a very good start. It really looked positive for our strategy. Going out after a pit stop, we had really, really good pace and we were catching the leader by almost a second or more.
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“After that, obviously the Safety Car. I was really hoping for the pitlane to be closed for one lap with the car in the middle of the road - that could have helped me a lot. In the end, I think we made the maximum of what we could. It's a shame we got back to the P7 after that Safety Car, but it's really hard to get by around here.”
Despite the setbacks in Sunday’s race, Hauger refused to dwell on them. Instead, he said he was pleased with recent speed in races over the past two rounds. The Red Bull junior said his focus was now turning towards addressing his weakest points - mainly his one-lap pace.
“I think in Qualifying we weren't that great. I couldn't maximise the car - but in Practice and in both races, we have been looking really good on the pace. In that sense, I'm quite happy with the performance and how we've evolved since Barcelona.
“I really wanted more today, but in the end, you just have to take the points and move on.
"Overall, this weekend has been a positive step for me and I have to take those positive things onto Baku.”
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Round 6 presents yet another learning experience for the Norwegian driver - off the back of securing victory at his first-ever race around a street circuit. Heading to Baku, Hauger is excited by the potential to master another challenging street track, but one with very different characteristics to Monaco.
“I've never been to Baku. A new circuit for me again, so it's going to be interesting to see. Obviously, (there’s a) really long straight there and more opportunities there than here (Monaco) that’s for sure. So, it should be fun.
“I'll go back to Italy now to do some simulator work and work with the team to try to get as prepared as possible for the weekend. The main problem for us so far this season has been Qualifying, so I’ve got to try to get a step there and in races we can do stuff on that on that type of track.”