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  • Writer's pictureALICE CECCHI

Sophia Floersch completes a total of 23 overtakes at the Hungaroring

"We were the driver with the most overtakes which I am happy with, but it just shows that we are starting completely out of position" - Sophia Floersch's positive trend in FIA Formula 3 continued at Hungaroring with two charging races, where the Alpine Academy driver completed a total of 23 overtakes, claiming her best finish to date despite a qualifying issue.

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A traditional appointment for F1 in summer, the twisty and technical Hungaroring circuit hosted the eighth round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship in what turned out to be one of the most thrilling weekends for the category: with two epic races and a lot of action, the fight for the championship is heating up and the Hungarian round did not disappoint. The season is reaching its final stretch and Sophia Floersch is on a very positive trend, as the German keeps proving her talent in every race, showing her skills in extracting the most performance possible from her car and from the situation.

The first half of the season provided some challenges, with a new team joining the championship for the first time while getting back into the rhythm with a car that had not driven in three years. In one of the most competitive FIA F3 fields in quite some time, Floersch still showed steady improvements and mistake-free weekends, consistently finishing ahead of all her teammates.

It didn't take her too long to prove her potential to break in the top-10, as she claimed her best finish in the series at Red Bull Ring - one of her favourite tracks - before her ninth place was later deleted due to an unfortunate team's technical infringement.

At Hungaroring, Floersch had a positive weekend at her first 2020 participation and was looking to carry momentum, showing once again to belong to the first half of the grid. A difficult track to pass on, the technical Budapest track also saw the deployment of a new Pirelli tyre compound that made the two races very strategy-driven due to the high-degradation.

The fastest driver on track on Friday in both practice and qualifying was Zak O'Sullivan (Prema Racing), with a time of 1:31.091; Floersch had a promising practice session in wet weather conditions, where she was significantly closer to the top-20. In the 30 minute qualifying, the PHM Racing driver was in for a strong starting position in the changing weather, as the track conditions improved dramatically in the closing minutes.

Floersch ran seventh at one point of the session, but a messy strategy ended up relegating her in P28: "The tricky conditions in Qualifying on Friday compromised our whole weekend, we had the wrong sequence, and not enough fuel meant that we would start from 28th in both races" Sophia explained.

Photo by Alpine Racing

Weather switched to full dry and sunny for the first race of the weekend on Saturday morning; Italian driver Gabriele Minì - like Sophia Floersch, also part of the Alpine Academy - started from reverse grid pole and tried to maintain his lead, but ultimately lost out to Nikita Bedrin (Jenzer Motorsport). The safety car was deployed when Sebastian Montoya (Hitech Pulse-Eight) went off between turns 12 and 13. The race resumed on the lap 17 and, amidst high tyre-deg drama, Minì secured victory followed by Gabriel Bortoleto (Trident) and Nikita Bedrin.

Starting from a difficult position in 28th, Floersch had a mountain to climb - but kept her head down and made the most out of the race, passing competitor after competitor and seizing every opportunity to gain spots; in yet another flawless run on her side, Floersch managed well her tyres and, when drivers hit performance drop, was climbing the order in the latter stages.

Sophia climbed up to P17 - then inherited two more positions due to post-race penalties and eventually brought home a remarkable 15th place which represents her best finish to date - topping a P16 in Australia - and her seventh top-20 of the season.

Floersch basically overtook half of the grid, showing pace that would have been top-10 worthy in the final stages.

The tyre deg meant that the Feature race was shortened again to 19 laps - a move that didn't play in favour of drivers such as Floersch who had well managed their tyres.

On Sunday morning, an uninterrupted second race saw Sophia starting again from the 14th row - and resumed her brilliant charge by replicating her Saturday's performance: the Alpine-backed driver was on a mission.

After a good start, a careful race management meant that Floersch navigated through the field up close to the top 20, then climbed to 18th as several drivers struggled for grip in the final laps. She crossed the finish line in P18, having gained 10 positions in race 2 alone and having completed 23 overtakes across the two Hungarian races.

Prema's Zak O'Sullivan led the race from lights to flag, taking victory for the fourth time this season. He was joined on the podium by his teammate Dino Beganovic and Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport).

With racecraft and hugely improved race pace over the latest race meetings, Floersch was the biggest mover of the weekend and was again unbeaten by her PHM Racing teammates in both races. She now enters the final two rounds with realistic chances to carry momentum - but with the goal to start higher up.

"We showed strong pace with some good fights in the Sprint and Feature Races, finishing 15th and 18th respectively" - Sophia said. "We were the driver with the most overtakes which I am happy with, but it just shows that we are starting completely out of position. We are looking ahead to fix that for Belgium." - she concluded.

Up next will be one of the universities of motorsport, the iconic Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, which Floersch will tackle for the first time in FIA F3 due to a clashing round in her 2020 season. Practice is scheduled for Friday at 09:35, while qualifying will get underway at 15:00 local time on the same day. The Sprint race will be contested on Saturday morning at 10:00, while the Feature Race will be on the Belgian Grand Prix race day, at 08:30.



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