Cameron Das has once again proven great race speed and consistency with a double top five finish at the Hungaroring in Budapest as the fourth round of the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship concluded this weekend. Taking on two days of official testing and Free Practice sessions ahead of the weekend, Das used the time well to put lap after lap in and get to know the unfamiliar circuit. Wet but drying conditions made for a challenging opening qualifying session however the 18-year-old American was quick to battle back in to a top five position as racing got underway. On Sunday, he was once again a protagonist to qualify in third position and took home fourth come the checkered flag.
For Das the Hungaroring once again marked a brand-new circuit that the talented American had to get to grips with in his Carlin car. Making the most of a fantastic amount of track time on Thursday, followed by three shorter Free Practice sessions on Friday, Das was ready and fired up for the weekend ahead.
However, on Saturday morning the challenges came thick and fast. A wet but drying track left his Carlin team a headache to contend with – at what point would the track become suitable for slick tires? Initially on his wet weather rubber his pace was brilliant however as a dry line appeared, the need to move to slicks became apparent. Bolting on new tires for his qualifying run, it suddenly started to rain again – forcing him to switch back to wets for the rest of the session; ultimately qualifying in seventh as the track dried out once again.
Starting out of position in seventh, Das was good off the line and slotted in behind his team mate Matheus Iorio. After a first safety car period his position had improved to sixth before a brave move on Yves Baltas saw Das soar through and up to fifth keeping his team mate in his sights at the same time. A second safety car period saw the pair get close once again but with overtaking notoriously difficult Das crossed the line in a strong fifth position.
Sunday morning’s 30-minute qualifying session was a far less dramatic affair and allowed Das to really show his speed. Pushing hard throughout, Das set a time to line up on the second row of the grid in third ahead of the afternoon’s race. Off the line he found himself squeezed on the run down to turn one and lost a position, however continued to chase Marcos Siebert ahead to try and re-gain ground. As is quite often the case at the Hungaroring, the race seemed to have been decided at the first corner and Das crossed the line after 17 laps in a brilliant fourth position – marking a double top five finish from the weekend.
“Having two days of practice really helped me get up to speed at the Hungaroring which is quite a difficult circuit to master,” Das said of the weekend. “I was fairly quick from the beginning, but we decided to test some theories during practice just to be sure another direction wasn’t going to be beneficial for weather conditions. When it came time to the first qualifying, we were rapid on a drying track with wet tires. I came in for slicks when I thought it was ready, but it began to rain as soon I went back out on slicks. Not wanting to risk it, I came back in for a new set of wets, but the rain stopped, and slicks once again became the better option. I think my lap time was quite respectable for wet tires, but it was only good enough for seventh.
“In the race, I did my best to work past cars in the opening laps but very characteristically of Hungaroring, we became locked into a procession even with two safety cars. I kept pressure on my teammate all race, but an overtaking opportunity wasn’t possible.
“On Sunday in the second qualifying, we had normal weather conditions. I put in a solid lap that placed me third for race two. In the race, it became a bit of a procession once more after the first corner, so I ended in fourth position but with some good points to come away with.”
A gap in the season follows over summer before the championship roars back in to action at Silverstone at the very beginning of September.”