America’s Tveter Ends 2017 On the Podium in GP3 Series
YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI, UAE, Nov. 27 — America’s Ryan Tveter ended the 2017 GP3 Series on an extremely positive note with a podium finish, as the young driver from Oyster Bay, N.Y. finished second in the series’ season finale Sunday at the Yas Marina Circuit prior to the Formula 1 race.
The impressive finish duplicated Tveter’s best result in his rookie season in the international series for future F1 hopefuls, as he also finished second in July in Hungary. He finished third the following month at Spa in Belgium.
With three podium finishes and three other top-five finishes, he placed eighth overall in the 2017 championship after 15 races held on Europe’s top road courses from May through November.
Driving Trident’s No. 11 car sponsored by Jagonya Ayam!/KFC Indonesia and Pertamina, Tveter started on the pole in Sunday’s 14-lap race on the demanding, 3.45-mile track. He beat all his rivals into Turn 1 and led the first two laps with a 0.6-second advantage over Dorian Boccolacci, one of his teammates.
His team’s strategy was to use the DRS (the drag reduction system used to reduce aerodynamic drag and boost speed to aid overtaking) in such a way so the Trident pair could break away from the field out of the 1-second DRS area from the cars behind. Tveter slowed slightly as planned and let Boccolacci pass into Turn 11 after the second DRS zone, but Boccolacci missed the braking point and botched the section of corners, losing the pair at least 1.5 seconds, which allowed the chasing group to catch up.
Tveter then had to defend slightly from Steijn Schothorst as Boccolacci drove away, not yielding his position the next lap as decided in the pre-race strategy, as Tveter had given his position away to Boccolacci. With no full-course cautions, Tveter stayed in second place the rest of the way despite challenges by both Schothorst and Daniel Ticktum. The latter got a penalty for an incident that didn’t involve Tveter, and Tveter had a 2.9-second advantage over Ticktum at the checkered.
Tveter’s fastest race lap on Sunday was a 1:58.064 on lap five. He and Boccolacci ran identical times in Sector 1 on that lap. Tveter was 0.8 behind Boccolacci and 0.8 ahead of Schothorst at the time.
Tveter started 12th in Saturday’s 18-lap race and placed eighth in that event.
He qualified only 0.933 of a second slower than the time that the champion, George Russell, set to earn the pole and only just over 0.2 seconds away from the top-five qualifiers.
Tveter moved into the top 10 on the first lap on Saturday after Nirei Fukuzumi and Raoul Hyman stalled at the start. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap nine with a 1:59.180. He remained in tenth place until lap 10, when he advanced to ninth after Anthoine Hubert dropped from sixth to 11th. Leonardo Pulcini then suffered a puncture, which vaulted Tveter into eighth, pressuring Boccolacci for seventh. Going into turn 17 on the penultimate lap, Boccolacci, who was struggling with his tires, locked up and ran off the track, allowing Tveter to go for a move into the next corner.
Tveter took to the inside, but Boccolacci closed the door late, forcing Tveter to either crash into the large sausage curb at the apex or into his teammate. Tveter was able to back out and avoid Boccolacci, but that allowed Hubert to get around Tveter in the following corner. Tveter crossed the line in ninth place, but he advanced to eighth after the race when Hubert was penalized for speeding during one of the virtual safety car periods.
“The one-two finish for Trident to end the season was a great result, but it was hard for me to be happy on the podium in P2 because I gave my teammate the lead in a DRS swap strategy that never swapped back,” Tveter said. “If I’d have lost the race after a fight for the lead, then I would’ve been much more satisfied. I wanted to do what was best for the team, but there are so many variables and I certainly learned a tough lesson, especially coming so close to my first victory.
“All that said, it’s been a great season and really a break-through year for me. I’m very grateful to the team and KFC, Jagonya Ayam!, and Pertamina for their support. I finished every race except the feature race in Silverstone due to an engine failure. We’ve had some technical problems at a couple rounds, but at the majority I was either in the top five or on the podium. To finish eighth in the overall driver’s championship and fourth among the rookies is something I can feel really good about. It’s a strong campaign to build on for next season and I’ve definitely asserted myself as the top-ranked American driver racing in Europe.”
In addition to his primary sponsors, Tveter provides exposure for several not-for-profit groups through his racing program: Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive, and the Lessons for Life Foundation.