Tatiana Calderón put on an overtaking masterclass in last weekend’s GP3 Series round at the Red Bull Ring, securing her first on-the-road top 10 finish of the 2017 season.
The Sauber Formula 1 development driver surged forwards in Saturday’s opening race at the Austrian track, making up no fewer than 10 places from her starting position – although a stunning performance went unrewarded by points due to a five-second time penalty.
Tatiana followed that up with a solid drive to 12th in Sunday’s second race, leaving her without points but encouraged by the speed she and her DAMS squad demonstrated.
The Red Bull Ring weekend did not begin promisingly for the 24-year-old rising star, as she came 18th in Friday evening’s practice session and 19th in qualifying the following morning, albeit only seven tenths off the pace of the fastest drivers in a super-tight session.
But this didn’t prevent Tatiana from making swift and decisive progress in the first race, as she took advantage of incidents ahead and her own much-improved pace to move up six places to 13th by the end of the first lap.
She climbed to 10th with a daring pass at Turn 3 on the fourth lap, and occupied the final points scoring position for much of the race, shadowing her rivals closely until she was able to grab one final position on the last lap of the race to finish ninth on the road.
Unfortunately, Tatiana wasn’t able to keep the two points she would have scored, as she was deemed to have overtaken under yellow flags, the resulting five-second penalty dropping her from ninth to 13th in the final results.
The second race was a much more straightforward affair, as the Colombian driver dropped one place from her starting position of 13th before making up two spots through attrition later in the race to bank 12th, her best finish of the 2017 campaign so far.
Tatiana Calderón: “After qualifying it seemed we were a bit lost, but the field was so tight, and even though being seven tenths off the pace wasn’t ideal there was definitely the potential for more. But we came back really strong in Race 1, I finished ninth on the road and overtook a lot of guys – even though I lost the points I would have scored with the penalty, all that mattered was that I could show the speed that I had. Race 2 wasn’t so exciting, I had a flatspot after the first few laps and it was difficult to manage, but I held my position and took the maximum. We’re learning where we lack speed and where we need to work, and we get another chance to show what we can do next weekend at Silverstone.”
Tatiana returns to action next weekend for the third round of the GP3 season at the historic Silverstone Circuit, the home of the British Grand Prix, on 13-16 July.