Saturday at the Hungaroring started with an incredibly challenging Qualifying session. Early storms had left the track wet to begin with, however a combination of high temperatures and the chance of further rain made for a very difficult session not only in terms of driving, but also strategy.
We started the session, as did the entire field on wet tyres. Conditions were very slippery, and it was really quite treacherous. Having set a few flying laps, we stopped early to change to another set of wets. Gradually the track started to dry, and it was right in the cross over point between wet or slick tyres being the right way to go. With around 12 minutes to run in the session we decided to give slicks a go, but I did not believe I could push as hard as I needed to on these, so we took a gamble and switched back to wets with barely enough time to get one more flying lap in. This paid off and I was able to set my best lap time for the session in that lap to qualify in P11.
Race 1 I got away to a good start however was squeezed into 13th place for turn 1. From there I had my strongest race in the Euroformula Open so far, forcing my way through the field. Two highlights were a late move I made on Dunner when he thought about overtaking Brazilian Samaia in front of him but hesitated. That allowed my to pounce down the inside of him and after fighting side by side for the next 2 corners I was able to make the move stick.
Following that I was able to get a better exit than Samaia which started a multiple corner battle with each of us taking turns being on the inside and then the outside. With him having damage to his rear wing I knew if I could hold on he would not be able to get an exit onto the main straight which would allow me to take the position there, which was exactly what happenned. From there I was in 6th place able to consistently pull away from Dunner behind me until I built up a gap of over 4 seconds, and was steadily catching Das in front of me.
Unfortunately nearing the end of the race a Safety Car was called leaving a two lap sprint to the finish with the field closed up once more. With cold front tyres I understeered slightly on to the straight starting the last lap and understeered through a puddle of water affecting my exit which allowed Dunner back past me into turn 1. I fought back at him, but in the end he was penalised for an earlier incident with a driver behind me meaning that I finished the race in 6th place for 8 more Championship points and my best finish in Euroformula Open so far.
Looking forward to Qualifying 2 and Race 2 tomorrow!