Two podium finishes for Niklas Krütten in the Italian Formula 4
Krütten went into the first race of the weekend from third on the grid. After a great start, the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé took the lead. Although he had to give it back not long after, he then comfortably defended second place to the chequered flag, staying in touch with the race leader throughout.
Krütten started the second race on Sunday morning from pole position. He successfully defended the lead until the tenth lap when team-mate Dennis Hauger got past on the last corner before the home straight. Krütten clung on tenaciously to eventually finish second.
He then qualified ninth for the third race at the Red Bull Ring. In an attempt to overtake an opponent, he lost his front wing by no fault of his own and had to return to the pits to have a replacement mounted. Despite a spirited pursuit, he was unable to finish any higher than 27th.
The next race engagement for the teenager from Trier is set to be a very special occasion: the ADAC Formula 4 juniors will be competing at the Hockenheimring on the same weekend as Formula 1. This time, they will be contesting two races instead of the usual three.
Four questions for Niklas Krütten
How would you sum up the last Italian Formula 4 race before the summer break?
I scored some vital points at the Red Bull Ring and made up ground in the championship. My pace was strong. In the second race, it was almost enough for the win. Unfortunately, I had a temporary technical problem going into the last corner before the home straight and made a small error that allowed my team-mate to get past. I got close to him on the final lap, but I didn't want to risk a tricky overtaking move.
How did you get pole position for the second race in qualifying?
It was by no means easy. We had just completed the warm-up laps, when the session was halted due to an accident. There were only eight minutes left on the clock when the track was reopened. It was difficult to find a good position on the track and not to lose any time in traffic. Then it started raining as well. Despite that, I managed to put in a good lap and I was very happy with the pole position.
After two second places, you were denied another strong result in the third race. What happened there?
I set the second-fastest lap of the quali. Unfortunately, it didn't count, because I was judged to have slightly exceeded the track limits. That meant I had to start the third race from ninth instead of from third. The pursuing bunch were jostling for position, and an opponent steered into me as I was trying to get past. I was clearly alongside him, so he must have seen me. In the incident, he knocked my front wing off, so I had to return to the pits and get a new one fitted. After that, of course, any chance of a decent result was gone.
Next up for you is the ADAC Formula 4 race weekend which shares the billing with Formula 1...
Yes, I'm looking forward to it. Competing in front of so many spectators is going to be really cool. It's a very special feeling to know that the major Formula 1 teams will be there. My aim is to finish in the Top Three and to continue scoring valuable points towards the German championship.