Amazing weekend as ADAC Formula 4 driver Niklas Krütten gets a taste of Formula 1

July 2018
Niklas Kruetten
15-year-old Niklas Krütten experienced the highlight of his season when he competed in the ADAC Formula 4 at the Hockenheimring under the banner of the German Grand Prix. With the help of his team, BWT Mücke Motorsport, he was keen to impress the 165,000 spectators at the track and extend his lead in the Rookie championship.

Krütten's weekend got off to a great start even before the race action began, as he was one of only seven juniors selected to meet Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel. A visit to the Ferrari garage was followed by lunch together, during which he was able to ask his idol a few questions. But to top that, later in the afternoon, Vettel paid a flying visit to BWT Mücke Motorsport's tent where he himself had once learned the tricks of the trade as a racing driver. Krütten also got the chance to meet Sergio Perez, another Formula 1 star. The Mexican also used to be with BWT Mücke Motorsport. He stopped by to chat with team members and their current crop of young talents. 

Krütten was fired up by these quite unique experiences and ready to face the weekend's many challenges. Heavy rain set in for Saturday morning's qualifying session, though, which is why he only qualified 11th and 21st on the grid. While he went on an amazing charge up the field to finish in the Top Ten in the second race on Sunday, his hunt for points on Saturday was stopped in its tracks when he was forced to retire. He is now in second place in the Rookie championship in the run-up to his home race at the Nürburgring (3rd - 5th August). However, before that, he will be heading first to Italy in order to contest the next round of the Formula 4 Italian championship at Imola (27th - 29th July).

Three questions for Niklas Krütten  Niklas, before we talk about the actual race, what was meeting Sebastian Vettel like?  

Really great! He's a very down-to-earth, friendly kind of guy. Very funny too. He even cracked a few jokes. He was very nice and really great with us. I was, of course, very excited at first to be meeting my big idol, but he quickly put me at ease with his relaxed and open manner. It was also amazing to see inside Ferrari's garage. If you don't look too hard, their formula racing cars are just like ours, but on closer inspection, you begin to notice little details and touches that make you go 'wow!' Everyone at Ferrari was very friendly and kind to us, and I felt just terrific. It brings into focus once more for you exactly what your goal in motor racing is when such moments come along!  

In contrast to the first race weekend at Hockenheim a couple of weeks ago, things did not go too well this time. What happened?

Unfortunately, it started to rain in qualifying. We'd had a couple of days of testing beforehand, so I approached the situation reasonably calmly. Nevertheless, I didn't manage to get the maximum out of the car and myself in the first segment. I was even more annoyed with myself after the second session. I was heading for a place in the Top Five when I made a mistake. There was a lot of water in the hairpin and I locked up on slicks, which put paid to my hot lap time and I had to start from 21st on the grid. My position on the grid in both races was by no means the best.  

Still, you managed to secure vital points in the Rookie championship by going on a strong charge up the field...

Well, I certainly needed to! I'd set my sights high before the race and tried to overtake as many cars as possible. Of course, I'd hoped for more than ninth, but it was the maximum I could achieve from grid position 21. I missed out on crucial points as a result of my retirement on Saturday, which was a bit unfortunate. I ran over a yellow kerb, couldn't keep the car under control and spun off track. I would love to have finished on the podium in front of such an awesome Formula 1 crowd, but still, it was really great to see the stands teeming with fans and to know that quite a few Formula 1 drivers were also watching us race.