Tatiana Calderón once again showed the potential to score points in last weekend’s GP3 Series race at Spa-Francorchamps, but was left with nothing to show for her efforts after a pair of difficult races.
The Colombian was left disappointed to come away from one of her favourite circuits with no points, having come from 22nd to 12th on the road in the first Belgian race and failing to finish in the second. Tatiana’s weekend began in difficult style, as she found herself off the pace both in Friday evening’s practice session and in qualifying on Saturday morning, when she struggled to cope with the fast-degrading nature of the soft compound Pirelli tyre that effectively made the session a one-lap shootout.
However, the opening race of the weekend was a different story for the 23-year-old. Starting from P22 on the grid, Tatiana expertly negotiated the chaos of the first corner to move up to 14th place by the end of the opening lap, where she remained during the subsequent Safety Car period.
Contact with the car of Niko Kari at La Source after the restart cost the Bogota-born driver valuable places, leaving her Arden International car with visible damage to the nose, but this didn’t prevent her from maintaining her pace.
In the closing laps, her rivals started to come towards her as several drivers began to suffer severe tyre wear in the hot conditions, Tatiana making up three places in the final three laps to finish 12th.
Unfortunately, a 10-second time penalty for the Kari incident moved her down two places to 14th on the official timesheets, which dictated her grid position for the second race on Sunday morning.
Another good start put Tatiana up to 13th at the end of the opening lap, but she was caught out by the early braking of her rivals at La Source at the start of the second lap.
In trying to avoid contact with the car of Artur Janosz ahead, she jinked left and onto the grass, at which point she became a passenger as her car hurtled towards the barriers. The damage was too extensive to continue, marking Tatiana’s second non-finish of the season.
Tatiana Calderón: “No doubt it was a tough weekend, but there were a lot of positives to take as well. It was difficult in qualifying, because with the soft tyre you have one lap to put it together, which I found quite tough. In the first race, I had a little incident with Kari, who in my opinion braked really early, so I hit his back and lost a few places there. The rhythm in the race was pretty good, and to finish 12th on the road was a good achievement. Then in race two, I think I just outbraked myself into La Source, and then touched the grass and went into the wall. That was obviously disappointing, but we showed we had the pace in the races, and now we need to focus on improving qualifying. I’m looking forward to Monza next week with the same compound of tyre; hopefully there will be a lot of overtaking and good racing.”
Tatiana now heads straight to Monza, the legendary venue of the Italian Grand Prix, for the seventh round of the GP3 Series this coming weekend, on 2-4 September.