Tveter Finishes Second at Hungaroring To Earn His First GP3 Podium Finish
MOGYORÓD, Hungary, July 30 — The huge crowd attending Sunday afternoon’s Formula 1 race at the Hungaroring began their day by watching young American rookie Ryan Tveter earn his first podium finish in the GP3 series Sunday morning. Tveter, 23, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., started on the pole for the first time in his racing career and then finished second in the 17-lap race for future F1 hopefuls. His first podium finish in this series came in only his fourth GP3 event.
It was also a banner day for his team, Trident, which fielded the Dallaras that finished first, second, third and fourth with drivers Giuliano Alesi, Tveter, Kevin Jörg and Dorian Boccolacci. It was also excellent exposure for Jagonya Ayam!/KFC Indonesia and Pertamina, as their logos are displayed prominently on both Tveter and Alesi’s cars.
Sunday’s race was more hard fought than the lap charts convey. Alesi slipped by both Tveter and Jörg in Turn 1 on the first lap and the top three positions didn’t change the rest of the way, but there were three full-course cautions and ensuing restarts to close the field and allow their rivals to mount a challenge.
None were able to, however, and at the checkered flag Tveter was 0.6 of a second behind Alesi and 1.7 ahead of Jörg. Tveter’s fastest race lap came on lap four with a 1:34.759. Tveter lay the groundwork for his big accomplishment on Sunday by finishing eighth in Saturday’s 22-lap race. The series inverts the top eight finishers in Race 1 for Race 2’s starting lineup, and Tveter had the presence of mind to know where he was running in the late stages of Saturday’s race in order to make a push for eighth place so he’d be on the pole on Sunday.
Tveter started 11th in Saturday afternoon’s race due to a qualifying time of 1:32.795 for the 2.722-mile, 14-turn road course. The qualifying session was cut 2 minutes short by a red flag, which caught many of the drivers out. Tveter moved from 11th to ninth in the race right away, however, as George Russell had mechanical issues and Tatiana Calderon and Arjun Maini stopped on the course. Tveter stayed in ninth place for most of the race, trying to save his Pirelli tires, but he passed Niko Kari for eighth on the last lap of the 22-lap race to secure the pole for Race 2.
He set his fastest lap of the race in the process with a 1:35.452. When the checkered dropped about a minute and a half later he was 1.154 seconds behind the seventh-place driver, Jörg, and already 2.310 seconds ahead of ninth-place Kari. "It was a really fantastic result,” Tveter said Sunday afternoon.
“I'm so happy to take my first podium in GP3! It was a 1-2-3-4 for Trident, and a 1-2 for KFC Pertamina for Giuliano and I. To see the American flag up there on the podium in front of a massive crowd was wonderful. And our team is a very close-knit team, so to get that result together is fantastic! A massive thank you to Ricardo Gelael and all the guys at KFC and Pertamina for supporting us to make this result. We're heading to summer break with a great feeling!
"The pace was there; we just had to manage our tires. We made a good improvement from yesterday after a tough qualifying with the late red flag. I lost the lead [in Race 2] when I locked up in the first corner a little bit. Giuliano was able to take the inside and get a good run going into Turn 2. But it was really close between us. Giuliano and I touched a little bit once, but it was fair racing.
"On Saturday we were conserving tires until the end, and our last two DRS [adjustments to the rear wing] helped get eighth. Our strategy paid off. We were all very close in lap times, and it's difficult to pass here. There's nothing better than to bring home the results today!"
With the two points-paying finishes in Hungary, Tveter advances from 11th to ninth in the drivers’ championship at the midway point of the 16-race season. The series now takes a break before reconvening at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium Aug. 25-27.