Tatiana Calderón continued her strong recent GP3 Series form by securing a double points finish in the penultimate round of the 2018 season in Sochi, Russia.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 test driver came away from her first visit to the former Winter Olympics venue with three points, finishing 10thin Saturday’s feature race before matching her best ever on-the-road GP3 finish on Sunday in seventh place.
Despite limited track time to familiarise herself with the Sochi Autodrom, Tatiana adapted quickly, setting the seventh-fastest in Friday’s 45-minute free practice session.
With qualifying starting not long before sunset on Friday evening, Tatiana and her Jenzer Motorsport team were caught out by the changing conditions, meaning the 25-year-old could manage no better than 14thon the grid for Saturday’s opening race.
But in the race itself the Colombian made steady progress through the midfield pack, passing ART driver Callum Ilott on the final lap to grab the final point on offer in 10th.
From that starting position on Sunday, Tatiana made another speedy getaway to establish herself firmly in contention for the points-paying positions – spending much of the race in eighth before Nikita Mazepin’s retirement promoted her to seventh at the finish.
Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was another positive weekend. We started off well in free practice, but the conditions changed quite a lot for qualifying – it was almost in the dark, the track cooled down a lot and it was very difficult to get the tyres to work. We had to start from P14, but in the first race we had a good rhythm, did some good overtakes and we managed to come back to P10 to score a point. Then on Sunday I made a really good start, but unfortunately in the first lap I locked up while I had already gained a few positions, I dropped behind Correa and Aubry. Plus, at the end of the race the virtual safety car stopped me using the DRS uses I had saved, which wasn’t ideal. I think we had pace for a bit more than P7, but I’m happy to score in both races, which I hadn’t done in GP3 before. Hopefully we can get the results we want in the last round in Abu Dhabi and finish the year strongly.”
With the final round of the GP3 season in Abu Dhabi a little under two months away, Tatiana’s immediate focus turns back to her Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 test duties, as she prepares to join the team for the Mexican and United States Grands Prix.