- 7 ENAAM #65
- 9 BEN #77
- 12 ALEX #39
- 1 ENAAM #65
- 3 ALEX #39
- 10 BEN #77
- 1 ENAAM #65
- - BEN #77
- - ALEX #39
Hitech Bullfrog GP ended round two of the 2018 FIA F3 European Championship at the Hungaroring, Budapest on a high, securing a haul of valuable points and rookie driver Enaam Ahmed taking the lead of the drivers’ championship.
At the iconic 4.381km circuit nestled just outside Hungary’s capital, the Silverstone-based squad came out on top at the second round of the 2018 FIA F3 European Championship taking home an impressive batch of silverware. The changeable weather conditions proved a challenge for both drivers and engineers over the weekend, as a mix of thunderstorms and sunshine accompanied the humid temperatures that reached over thirty degrees Celsius.
FRONT ROW LOCK-OUT
With track action getting underway on Friday morning, the drivers took to their cars to battle it out in two back-to-back free practice sessions. All three drivers posted competitive laps, which saw the trio score a front row lock-out in free practice one. Success continued into the afternoon as Alex claimed second-place in the first qualifying session, Enaam ninth and Ben twelfth, determining their grid positions for the opening race on Saturday.
LEADING THE PACK
The Hungaroring circuit basked in sunshine on Saturday morning, but was soon replaced by stormy conditions as thunder and lightning blanketed the sky ahead of the opening race. Ben started from twelfth position climbing through the field, ending his race in ninth place. Adding valuable points to the tally, Enaam rose up the order from ninth and finished seventh, securing a Rookie podium. Starting from second position on the grid, Alex put on a competitive fight but was unable to retain his position, finishing twelfth.
It was all to play for in the afternoon’s qualifying session. Enaam claimed a front-row start for the opening race on Sunday, falling short of pole position by an agonising 0.0023s. The third qualifying session saw Enaam repeat his success from Pau, taking pole position for race three. Ben qualified eighth for race two and Alex claiming fifth. For the final race on Sunday, Ben qualified eleventh and Alex seventh.
MAIDEN WIN FOR ENAAM
The final day of the Hungaroring round saw the team bag two well-deserved podium finishes in race two, adding to the weekends’ collection of silverware. Enaam celebrated his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win with team-mates Alex finishing in third position, and Ben tenth. The Hitech Bullfrog GP squad dominated the front throughout the majority of the race, adding all-important points to the board. Enaam’s race victory moves him up into the lead of the 2018 FIA Formula 3 Championship drivers’ standings.
EXTENDING THE LEAD
The final race of the weekend was greeted by sunshine, with temperatures hitting the thirty-degree mark. As the lights turned green, Ticktum, Ahmed and Armstrong ran three-abreast down to the first corner, before polesitter Enaam dominated proceedings as he rocketed into the lead following a clash between the two opponents on the exit of the first corner, crossing the line 7.2s ahead of Dan Ticktum and Mick Schumacher. The 18-year-old Brit claimed his second race win of the weekend, further extending his lead in the drivers’ championship, setting him 18 points ahead on the leader board and boasting a 15.5 point advantage in the Rookie championship.
With fellow team mate Alex starting from seventh place, the Spaniard put on a strong fight at the race start, but ended up with contact from another driver on the first lap resulting in a puncture. Luck was not on Alex’s side as this developed into a further mechanical issue, forcing him to retire early from the race. The scenario was similar to that of team mate Ben, who had damage to the front suspension, forcing him to retire a few laps in of the finale.
Reflecting back on his maiden wins, Enaam Ahmed commented:
“It’s a really emotional feeling. There was a lot of hard work that has gone into this year. It was hard for me to even get on the grid. I didn’t expect to win a race in only my second weekend in the championship, as I know how high the level of racing is.”
“Myself, my driver coach and the team have worked really hard throughout the year, so it’s great to see that hard work finally paying off. I’m so grateful for the team for supporting me and I’m looking forward to the next round at Norisring at the end of the month.”
Hitech Bullfrog GP’s Team Principal, Oliver Oakes, added:
“It’s a great feeling to be leaving Hungaroring with two wins at this level. We were competitive the whole weekend and that is a true testament to the level of preparation we have put in. We hope to continue this success at the next round at Norisring in a few weeks.”
The Norisring in Nuremberg is next on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship calendar, taking place on the 23 – 24 June 2018.