Jake Hughes enjoyed his maiden outing in Formula 2 machinery at Sochi, making the step up from Formula 3 with BWT HWA RACELAB, following the conclusion of the Championship in Mugello just over two weeks ago. The British racer admitted the top tier of junior motorsport was “a bit more punishing,” but overall, was pleased with his debut.
Having been out of the F3 car for just two weeks, Hughes was more attuned to the differences between the two cars. Not that this seemed to affect him, as he quickly got to grips with the F2 HWA.
“It is quite strange in some ways, in terms of the differences, but in other ways it is quite similar to F3,” he assessed. “Now that I have gotten used to it, the main differences are that it has a bit more weight, the 18-inch tyres make it a bit different on the braking, and then the turbo.
“Otherwise, in the race you are doing the same things that you are doing in F3 in terms of tyre management, brake balance adjustment, things like that. Generally, the car feels quite strong, especially in high speed compared to F3.
“The carbon brakes are very powerful. When you make a mistake, it is a bit more punishing. Like we saw in Practice and Qualy with a few spins, if you push a bit too far it punishes you. I don’t think I have locked up once though - I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing... Maybe I’m not pushing enough.”
The F3 race winner took P12 in the Feature Race, only just finishing outside of the points, but he reckons that they could have gotten more out of the car in Qualifying, which would have put him in a better starting position on Saturday.
“Practice was an adventure, for sure,” he continued “That is the first time that I’ve gone from Practice to Qualy on a different tyre - I think the grippier tyre suited me a bit more. To be honest, I think that if we’d done a different qualifying strategy, then I had the chance to make the top ten.
“I am not saying I was pushing fully to the limit, but I think we should have been around six or seven tenths off. That would have put us around P10, which would have looked quite good on a first attempt."