Max Esterson: Success at Donington!

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Max Esterson

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Published on June 01, 2022 with No Comments

Esterson celebrates his first GB3 win (Jakob Ebrey photos).

BRACKLEY, UK – The most recent meeting of the GB3 Championship at Donington Park was a great success for me as I was able to claim my first podium and first victory of the season, as well as my first pole, a new track record and two fastest race laps. Things started off well for the team and I as we hovered around the top five throughout testing on Thursday. Gusty winds made conditions tricky and inconsistent session-to-session, but the car was fast and we only had to make minor adjustments. On Friday we really turned it up and in the final practice session before qualifying, I was nearly half a second clear of the field. The team and I really nailed the conditions and it felt great to finish testing on top.

The wind direction changed for qualifying on Saturday morning which shook things up a bit, but we still had a good shot at pole. Unfortunately I had a big slide in the final sector on my fast lap which cost me a few tenths of second. It was still a good effort as I was just over a tenth of a second away from first, which put me fourth on the grid for Race 1. My second fastest lap (which determined the grid for Race 2), was quick enough to claim my first pole position. My ability to turn out multiple fast laps shows that we had great pace, but I still need to work on extracting the maximum from the car on a single lap.

Douglas Motorsport nailed the setup for Donington.

I had a tough start to Race 1 as I lost a spot into the first corner. A few corners later I lost another as I was stuck on the outside line. Luckily for me, the three leaders tangled in the next corner which took them out of the race and I was able to settle into third. I set the fastest lap of the race but was unable to get by Carlin Racing’s Roberto Faria. Either way, it was great to get my first podium and to make up ground on the championship leaders as they crashed out.

I got a better start in Race 2 and went into the first turn side-by-side with the winner from Race 1, Callum Voison. I held onto the inside but we were still side-by-side going down the Craner Curves. I had the inside into Old Hairpin and Voison ran wide, allowing me to get ahead. From there, I had my head down and focused forward to try to build a gap to Hitech’s Luke Browning. Browning stayed close the whole race but I knew it would be nearly impossible for him to pass unless I made a mistake. I was pretty comfortable in the lead, focused forward, and just waited for the time to run out. It was a relief to finally cross the line and to get my first win in the series. And as a bonus, I once again set the fastest lap of the race.

A pole, a win and two fastest laps. On to Snetterton!

In the reverse grid Race 3, I lined up way back in 18th… The only downside of qualifying well for Race 1! I made a few spots up on the first lap and avoided the carnage, but then went too fast into the Melbourne Hairpin on lap four which sent me back a few spots. It was still a decent race as I made it up to 11th, gaining seven positions (which earn a point per position in the reverse grid races) and moved up to third in the championship standings. It was great to get the team their first win since the 2020 season; the whole Douglas Motorsport team was firing on all cylinders and we have a great foundation to build upon for the rest of the season, starting with Snetterton at the end of the month. See below for links to replays of the races.
Race 1
Race 2
Race 3

Having caught some of Sergio Perez’ Red Bull win at Monaco between my races on Sunday, I later drove home and settled in to watch the Indy 500 – A big shout out to the whole team at Chip Ganassi Racing and especially to Brad Goldberg, Marcus Ericsson’s race engineer! Overall, a great weekend!

As always, thanks for your support,
Max Esterson

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