The seventh round of the 2018 FIA European F3 Championship took place in Misano this weekend and practice began under the scorching hot Italian sun. But, the rain arrived on Saturday, creating the ideal conditions for Habsburg to bounce-back after a hard-fought first half of his 2018 season.
After struggling for pace in the dry in Saturday’s qualifying and race, the young Austrian, named as “Rain Master” many times before, was delighted to see the pack ‘levelled-out’ with the wet weather conditions and qualified in fifth place for both of Sunday’s races.
In race two, he started from 12th due to a seven place grid penalty, but got a great getaway and, by the end the opening lap, he was in seventh place with some excellent moves, seventh would be his final finishing position to gain some valuable points.
The final race of the weekend started behind the safety car due to heavy rain. After completing only one lap, the race was red flagged. After 25 minutes of waiting, the rain eased off, allowing the race to be restarted behind the safety car. Habsburg, still in fifth, held onto his position at the restart and made a flawless overtaking move on Zhou to climb up to fourth. He improved lap-by-lap, catching the third placed driver when the safety car returned to the track for an incident with only 10 minutes to go, which halted his charge.
With the track clear and four minutes to go, he wasted no time. Another terrific start, the Austrian driver took third position with a great move around the outside of turn one. Then a battle for second place with Juri Vips that saw side by side action for over half a lap. With time against him, Habsburg had to settle for third place but was pleased to get his first podium of the 2018 FIA F3 European Championship season.
“I’m the first to admit that this season has been difficult but we have to always stay positive, work hard and keep fighting for results,” Habsburg said. “I’m really happy to get my first podium of 2018 – the worst thing you can do as a driver is forget how success feels – but we know that it wouldn’t have been possible without the rain levelling the field. My focus leaving Misano, therefore, remains the same as when I arrived – to keep working hard with the team to get us back up on to the podium week after week.”
The next round of the FIA F3 European Championship season takes place on the September 8-9) at the Nurburgring.