Sauber F1 development driver Tatiana Calderón battled her way to another GP3 Series points finish in last weekend’s penultimate round of the season at Jerez, Spain.
Building on the momentum generated by her best-ever GP3 result last month at Monza, Tatiana headed to Jerez confident of further success in Spain, where the Colombian racer again proved her potential throughout the weekend.
Unfortunately, contact with a rival driver in the first race limited the 24-year-old to 13th in the first race, before a spirited comeback charge in race two netted a point for eighth.
Being the only race of the GP3 season not held on the F1 support bill, the Jerez weekend ran on a revised timetable, with both practice and qualifying taking place on Friday.
Tatiana finished both sessions in the top 10 and within a second of the pace, sealing her best-ever grid slot of her GP3 career in the process and providing a solid platform from which to attack during Saturday’s opening race.
Just holding her starting position of eighth would have given Tatiana the all-important reverse-grid pole for Sunday’s second race, but any hopes of a front-row start were extinguished at the first corner by Giuliano Alesi, who made contact with her.
That dropped the Bogota-born DAMS ace down to 13th position, where she would be stuck for the remainder of the race amid a dearth of passing opportunities around the tight, twisty Jerez layout.
Starting from the same position for race two on Sunday, an aggressive approach to the start paid off for Tatiana as she picked off three rivals in as many laps, before exerting race-long pressure on erstwhile nemesis Alesi in the fight for ninth.
Contact between Dan Ticktum and Niko Kari then elevated Tatiana one position, before a post-race penalty for the latter driver gave her the final point of the race for eighth.
Tatiana Calderón: ”It was a really great weekend in terms of pace, although we definitely deserved better than just one point. We had a really great qualifying; to start P8 in the first race was really good. We just needed to maintain that position to take reverse grid pole, but sadly I got hit in Turn 1 by Alesi and I lost a few positions. From there on it was a pretty boring race with barely any overtaking. I had start to start Race 2 from P13, I decided to take some risks at the start, which paid off. It was a shame we had the Safety Car, as my tyres seemed better towards the end than my rivals and I had time in the pocket.”
Tatiana has just one round remaining of her GP3 Series campaign, which takes place at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on November 24-26.