Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 test driver Tatiana Calderón ended the first half of her GP3 Series campaign on a high with a points finish at the Hungaroring last weekend.
The Colombian rising star made impressive progress in both races at a venue where it is notoriously challenging to overtake, ending up 11th in Saturday’s opening encounter before scoring her best result of 2018 so far with eighth on Sunday.
Buoyed by her strong run at the previous round at Silverstone, Tatiana and her Jenzer Motorsport team carried that positive momentum into Friday morning’s free practice session in Hungary, setting the seventh-fastest time.
However, the fact the schedule did not mirror that of previous rounds (qualifying took place on Saturday morning instead of Friday evening) meant Tatiana and the Team pursued the wrong set-up direction, limiting Tatiana to 15th on the grid for the first race on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was able to climb as high as 10th, but as tyre degradation took its toll in the latter stages she slipped back one place. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the points, Tatiana was able to put those lessons to good use in Sunday’s second race.
Starting 11th, she immediately carved her way up to ninth – and then after spending much of the race in the wheeltracks of Diego Menchaca, she was finally able to make the move on the Campos driver with three laps to go to finish eighth.
It marks Tatiana’s first finish inside the points of the 2018 season and provides a solid foundation on which to build for the remaining rounds of the campaign.
Tatiana Calderón: “It’s a great feeling to go into the summer break with my first point on the board. I had a good feeling with the car in free practice but then we did some adjustments for qualifying that didn’t work. Starting the first race 15th wasn’t ideal but I managed to move forward, and although I just missed out on the points, we learnt a lot about the tyre degradation which helped me in race two. I drove a smart race, overtook two guys on the first lap and towards the end I was able to overtake Menchaca to get the last point. Hopefully there’s much more to come in the second half of the season, and if we keep working like this we can regularly score points – which is the aim for the rest of the year.”
Tatiana now gets to enjoy a well-earned rest as F1 enters its summer break, with the next GP3 races scheduled at the fabled Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium on 25-26 August.