01 Christian Lundgaard
02 Juri Vips
25 Devlin DeFrancesco
01 Christian Lundgaard
02 Max Fewtrell
12 Devlin DeFrancesco
Whilst some may claim that it is impossible to overtake at the Hungaroring, nineteen-year-old Devlin DeFrancesco proved the critics wrong this weekend. Making up an extraordinary 13 places in one race alone, the nineteen-year-old fought his way through the field at round five of the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Devlin’s weekend began under the warm Hungarian sun bright and early Friday morning, in the 45-minute free practice session. As the only opportunity the drivers get to refamiliarize themselves and prepare on track before qualifying every second counts.
Making the most of the occasion, the young Canadian-Italian ended the session with nineteen laps the fastest of which left him 11th quickest overall.
With a slightly different timetable running this round, the usual Friday afternoon qualifying session took place Saturday morning. Happy with the pace shown in practice, Devlin left for his first set of laps confident in his abilities matching the pace of his teammate.
However, with a field as big and competitive as the Formula 3 grid, it can be incredibly tricky stringing together a good lap in qualifying – as Devlin can attest to this weekend. As everyone frantically attempted to get their final lap in, traffic meant that Devlin was unable to improve his time.
Reflecting on a tough session Devlin commented:
‘We had traffic on both laps – it really hindered us today, for the first run we were on par with the team-mates, but second run, I didn’t get a lap at all. With cold tyres too it’s near impossible we’ve qualified so far out of position. That’s how it goes sometime, we know we’ve got good race pace so everything to do tomorrow.’
A less than ideal qualifying meant that Devlin has a less than ideal starting place for the feature race on Saturday afternoon. Lining up 25th on the grid meant that he had plenty of work to do, and that it would be essential that he kept his nose clean. The thirty car field all got away well, and within just five laps Devlin had climbed five places to twentieth. This was a sign of things to come.
As the race continued into the second half, the action intensified. Incidents ahead of Devlin benefited the 19-year-old as he continued to work his way up the order. Engaging in several on track battles resolute teenager ended the race in 12th. Climbing a phenomenal 13 places, the most of anyone on the grid, at a track notoriously hard to overtake. Whilst the points remained just out of reach, it was a hugely impressive and encouraging showing.
“It was a quite a topsy turvy grid for race one. We had really, really good speed and we ended up really coming through, with really good tyre management We made the most of what we had and we’ll go again tomorrow”
Devlin’s strong race on Saturday meant that prospects looked much sunnier for him on Sunday, lining up in 12th. This put him firmly in the upper midfield, with the potential to challenge for points. Once more, as the race progressed, Devlin felt the benefit of keeping his nose clean – although he was able to get his elbows out and produced some hard but fair racing. Battling with Niko Kari and Liam Lawson – he ultimately finished the race in 11th.
Reflecting on the weekend as whole Devlin commented:
“After a really tough qualifying we had a good recovery in Race One. With Race Two it seemed that we maybe didn’t have the speed as needed but I did my best. We need to investigate why, which is something we can do over the summer break. But overall for me, I’m happy, two decent races, onto Spa next.”
The championship takes a break before the next round at the driver favourite Spa-Francorchamps circuit in early September, where Devlin will be looking to capitalise on this weekend’s strong performance as he hunts down points.