Sauber Formula 1 development driver Tatiana Calderón was unfortunate to come away unrewarded in one of her most impressive GP3 Series outings yet at the Hungaroring.
Achieving her best qualifying result to date in the championship, Tatiana was well in contention to score her first points of the season in the opening race at the Hungarian Grand Prix venue before being squeezed off track and out of contention.
She was then tagged from behind while in contention for a top-10 finish in the second race, giving her a puncture and causing her to finish a lapped 13th.
Following a tough weekend at Silverstone two weeks ago, Tatiana was able to recover the form she had showed in Austria – where she finished ninth on the road – in Hungary, immediately establishing herself as the quickest of the three DAMS drivers in free practice.
The 24-year-old followed up that performance by coming an impressive 10th in qualifying, bettering her previous GP3 best grid slot by two places, to put herself well in the running for a strong result during Saturday evening’s opening race.
But, her superb efforts turned out to be for naught when she found herself forced on to the grass by one of the Campos drivers on the approach to Turn 3 on the very first lap of the race, pitching her DAMS car into a spin and into retirement.
That disappointment left Tatiana down in 17th on the grid for Sunday morning’s second race, but the Bogota-born driver made decisive progress through the field, making it as high as 11th when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed at the halfway mark.
Unfortunately, her charge was ended when she was hit by Arjun Maini, which gave her a puncture and necessitated a trip to the pits that ruined any chance of scoring points. The fact she recorded the fifth-fastest lap of the race was scant consolation.
Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was a positive weekend, even if we weren’t rewarded for the pace we showed. To be in the top 10 and the first of the DAMS cars in qualifying was a good feeling, but unfortunately my first race ended on the first lap, when I got squeezed out and crashed. It was a racing incident, there was nothing I could do to avoid it. That meant in race two we had to fight from 17th, and I was running 11th after the Virtual Safety Car before I got hit and got a puncture. Of course, it was frustrating to come away with no points again because we had really good pace, but at least we are moving in the right direction and I was really happy with the balance of the car and the way the team worked. Now it’s time to recharge my batteries during the break before we return for Spa and Monza.”
The fifth round of the GP3 Series season will take place at one of Tatiana’s favourite circuits, Spa-Francorchamps, after a four-week summer break on August 25-27.