Niklas Krütten in Top Ten at Misano

June 2018
Niklas Kruetten
BWT Mücke Motorsport driver Niklas Krütten went to Misano last weekend to contest the Italian Formula 4 Championship at the MotoGP circuit there. This meeting also marked the end of the first half of the season for the German. After a terrific showing in the ADAC Formula 4 at the Red Bull Ring just over a week ago, he was particularly keen to get started as he headed to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

However, it soon became apparent in first practice that the BWT Mücke Motorsport rookie and team-mates would have to struggle a bit more than they have done in recent weeks. Finishing eleventh, he was almost a second down on best time. Most of the other drivers had had much more experience of the 4.22-km track. Still, Krütten managed not only to improve his personal times during the weekend but also got steadily closer to the best times of others in the field.

He secured eleventh place in the first qualifying session and booked P15 on row eight for the second race. Race 1 was soon over for him after a spin. He then really pulled out all the stops in the second race and improved to take P10 during the 30 minutes or so of racing. He was bumped up the field by one more position and ranked ninth following a time penalty incurred by a fellow competitor. Krütten lined up in P15 on the grid for the weekend's final race and gained several positions until finally, his car sustained damaged while racing with a group of other drivers in a contact that was not his fault. It was no longer possible to finish higher than 22nd under the circumstances. 

Krütten and the team will now take a short break for the summer before heading to the Hockenheimring and the biggest moment of his career to date when the ADAC Formula 4 stages its fifth race weekend of the season under the Formula 1 banner (20th - 22nd July). 

Three questions for Niklas  

Niklas, after your terrific performance at the Red Bull Ring, how would you rate the Misano weekend?

The Red Bull Ring did me a lot of good, as I was able to show just what I can do when I have a clean weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn't repeat that at Misano. Ninth place in the second race was my best result and is in no way a reflection of my ambitions and what I hope to achieve. Still, such weekends are part of the learning process at the end of the day. After all, I'm in my rookie year and have already achieved a lot. Every racing driver has weekends that don't go so well. The trick is to learn from them and not get too discouraged.  

Why were you unable to get better results? What exactly was the problem?

I soon realised in the first session that we didn't have the speed to really make it crack. That caused us to struggle, added to which, we had a lot of bad luck. I exited the final turn a little bit too fast in the closing stages of the first race, lost the back-end and spun. Unfortunately, my race was over after that. Things went a bit better for me in the second race and I also benefited from one or two drivers higher up the field retiring. The last race was very similar. I gained a few positions but was unlucky. The guy in front of me damaged his car in a scrap and then went really wide in the turn. I had to take evasive action and damaged my car's nose-cone. Of course, having to stop for repairs completely wrecked any chance I might have had of a decent finish.  

The next race meeting should make you feel much more positive about things. The Hockenheimring really suits you, and then there's the fact that you will be racing on the support programme to Lewis Hamilton & Co...

That will definitely be one of the highlights of my year, for sure! As a young driver, you always have an eye on the big stars in Formula 1, obviously. It's going to be a fantastic experience, racing as support to the premier class in my very first year in a single-seater. And there'll be huge crowds of spectators at the track - it's certainly going to be very special as far as I'm concerned. I expect that we'll perform well. When all said and done, I achieved my best result so far in Formula 4 during the first race weekend at the Hockenheimring with a P2 finish. The Hockenheimring really suits me and I intend to do my best as always.