Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 test driver Tatiana Calderón fought her way into the points for a second consecutive GP3 Series round last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Colombian rising star continued her strong run of recent form at the legendary Belgian track with a top 10 finish in Saturday’s opening race, before coming very close to making it a hat-trick of points finishes on Sunday.
Tatiana and her Jenzer Motorsport team proved the progress they have made in one-lap trim in qualifying on Friday, as she lapped the 7.004km Spa track just four tenths of a second off the pace. Such is the competitiveness of GP3 now, however, that this was only enough for 11th place on the grid.
In damp conditions after overnight rain, Tatiana lost positions at the start of the first race on Saturday before setting about clawing her way back up the order, helped by her exceptional pace in the latter stages.
Posting the second-fastest lap of the race, she passed Jenzer teammate Juan Manuel Correa on the last lap to come home 10th, clinching the final point on offer.
The start of the second race on Sunday morning didn’t go according to plan, as Tatiana found herself squeezed between Ryan Tveter’s car on the inside and Correa on the outside heading into the tight first corner, leading to inevitable contact.
From there, the 25-year-old mounted a spirited comeback charge to ninth place, falling just short of denying Trident driver Tveter eighth.
With momentum now firmly on her side, Tatiana now heads to Monza for this weekend’s seventh round of the championship in Monza, Italy – a track where she performed strongly last year – aiming to add to her points tally still further.
Tatiana Calderón: “Spa was a very positive weekend. In qualifying it was a bit frustrating to only be in P11 despite being just four tenths off pole, but that’s how competitive this championship is. I was again the best Jenzer car, and really close to pole, which was positive. In Race 1 I had not such a good start; the track was still a bit wet, I was on the wettest part coming into Eau Rouge so I lost a few positions there. I managed to get them back by the end of the race and to score another point is quite positive. We did the second-quickest lap of the race, which was also encouraging, even if I think we had the pace for much more. In race two I had a really good start off the line but I collided with my teammate Correa; he turned into me and we lost a lot of positions. But fighting my way back from P15 to P9 was nice, I did some really great moves. I’m really happy with my performance this weekend so hopefully we can carry that momentum into Monza.”
MONZA WEEKEND TIMETABLE
(All times CET and subject to change)
Friday 31 August
Practice – 09:30 AM
Qualifying – 05:50 PM
Saturday 1 September
Race 1 – 10:30 AM
Sunday 2 September
Race 2 – 09:40 AM