Niklas Krütten celebrates three podiums and three rookie wins at Monza
For Niklas Krütten, it was a case of ‘all good things come in threes’ on the fourth weekend of the 2020 Euroformula Open at Monza. In the three Formula 3 races contested on the Formula 1 circuit, the Team Motopark driver ascended the podium three times and celebrated three wins in the Best Rookie category. The 17-year-old is now the undisputed leader in the classification for series newcomers on 74 points, having opened up a 19-point gap on his closest pursuer. In the general classification, Krütten moved up from eighth to fourth place by more than doubling his points account from 42 to 87.
Three races in one weekend were a novelty for the Euroformula Open: usually, there are two races per event, but a calendar that has been thrown into disarray by coronavirus now has many such anomalies. To compensate for a cancelled event, one race was added to each of two surviving fixtures. For Krütten, it has worked out to his advantage that Monza was chosen to be one of the triple-headers.
As early as the test session prior to the race weekend itself, Krütten was making a strong impression with his lap times. In the first free practice, he was fourth overall and second-fastest rookie. In FP2 and the first qualifying session, the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé went one better, booking second place on the grid and beating all the other rookies. It was a result he repeated in the third qualifying session where he missed out on pole position by a wafer-thin margin of 0.096 seconds. A relatively anonymous ninth place in Q2 does not diminish his achievement.
The races were remarkable for the amount of competitive wheel-to-wheel action, in which Krütten gave as good as he got in the battle for the top positions. In the second race, he made up for his mistake in qualifying by advancing from ninth on the grid to challenge at the front. The reward for his endeavour was three podium places and three rookie victories. Krütten has now ascended the podium four times in his first full season in the Euroformula Open. In five of the races so far, he has lifted the Best Rookie trophy.
Krütten has the chance to continue this successful run as early as next weekend (2nd – 4th October) when Italy once again hosts the Euroformula Open: the fifth event of the season will be contested on the MotoGP and Formula 1 circuit at Mugello.
Three questions for Niklas Krütten
What a weekend! How did you feel after chalking up a personal treble?
It did me a power of good, even though I unfortunately missed out on an actual win. It was a great feeling to be battling way for positions in the leading group. We were fast right from the start and always on song. It was only in the second qualifying that we had a few small problems, which is why I was only ninth. In the race itself, though, I then worked my way forward to the front. That shows how much we have improved and how professional this team is in the way it works. The whole weekend was just such incredible fun.
You are now the undisputed leader in the Best Rookie classification. Have you got your sights on the title?
It’s obviously great to have established a lead here, but my focus is more on the general classification that includes all the drivers. I’m aiming to get into the Top Three overall. I’m currently fourth and not all that far behind the third-placed driver. So that’s my main objective, but if I should also become rookie champion in the process, that would of course be very nice.
It’s fair to say that you are on a run right now. What are your expectations for Mugello?
Unfortunately, a successful run like this can also come to an abrupt end – that’s just the way it is in motorsport. The important thing is not to get carried away. We have to keep working hard because the other teams won’t be letting up either. The podium appearances were very nice, but of course we also want to be celebrating victories. Hopefully we can get even more involved in the fight for the top spots at Mugello. They have predicted rain, which could make the whole weekend especially interesting.