TATIANA LEAVES AUSTRIA EMPTY-HANDED AFTER BRUISING GP3 RACES

Tatiana Calderón suffered another weekend to forget during the second round of the GP3 Series season at the Red Bull Ring, once again coming away empty-handed in both races.

The 23-year-old was unable to capitalise on the speed she showed in an extremely closely-fought qualifying session, as a flat-spot and a scrape with two rivals saw her slump to 17th in Saturday’s opening race, before she was taken out of Sunday’s wet second encounter by an out-of-control Charles Leclerc.

Tatiana’s weekend began in trying circumstances in Friday’s free practice session, in which she suffered an electronic problem that prevented her from setting a representative time, but this setback didn’t prevent the Colombian from demonstrating her true capabilities in qualifying.

Despite encountering traffic on her best run, costing her valuable tenths, she managed to seal 13th on a tightly-bunched grid for the first race – two spots clear of Arden International teammate Jack Aitken and less than two tenths adrift of team leader Jake Dennis.

Race one started well enough, as Tatiana climbed two positions in the first three laps to put herself in contention for the first points of her fledgling GP3 career. But a flat-spotted front-right tyre robbed her of vital pace, dropping her back behind teammate Aitken, before she found herself squeezed between Kevin Jorg and Steijn Schothorst in an incident that damaged her front suspension.

That left her down in a disappointing P17 for the finish, which was her grid slot for a second race that was run almost entirely behind the safety car. While running 15th in the torrential conditions, Tatiana was powerless to save her race once she was rear-ended by Leclerc approaching Turn 2, a collision for which the championship leader was awarded a five-place grid penalty for the next race.

Tatiana Calderón: “To be in front of one of my teammates and very close to the other one in qualifying showed that I had the speed, and the first few laps of race one were competitive. But once I locked up and flat-spotted my tyre, it was very difficult to keep up the pace, and then I sustained some suspension damage when I was squeezed between two other drivers. Race two was basically over before it had really started – I felt someone hit me from behind, which was Leclerc, and that was the end. At least he admitted it was totally his fault and he apologised to me, so now I have to move on and prepare myself as well as possible for the next round at Silverstone.”

Next up on Tatiana’s crowded schedule is the third round of the GP3 Series at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, which takes place on 7-9 July.

GP3 points standings after Red Bull Ring: 1. Leclerc 58 2. Albon 53 3. Fuoco 42 4. Hughes 31 5. de Vries 31 — 21. Calderón 0