Lausitzring was no straight forward task for any driver on the grid. The technical circuit is certainly unconventional in comparison to Nurburgring, Hockenheim, Red Bull Ring and even Oschersleben. The racing was going to be difficult, overtaking opportunities were minimal and mistakes likely to be a major part of the racing over the weekend. It was a challenge for Olli who would once again be faced with a track he would be racing at for the first time.
Qualifying saw Olli get off to a good start, qualifying 7th and 4th across the two sessions respectively the Prema Theodore Racing driver had left himself a good chance at scoring some more points and podiums. Up until round three Olli had already been on the podium twice, both on the top step at Oschersleben and 3rd at Hockenheim.
It would be 7th on the grid for race one and Olli had no issues at the start holding station for the first few corners. A small lock up saw Olli drop back to 8th behind his teammate Fittipaldi, but with over 28 minutes still to run Olli was in a good position to score good points. As lap two began an incident up ahead saw two drivers off leaving Olli now in a strong 6th place with a podium at arm’s length!
However, just a few corners later Olli’s race would be over along with five of his competitors. The opening lap had seen fluid left on the track at turn four and unaware the leaders came charging in and were passengers as Olli went into the barriers. It was an extensive incident which brought out the red flags and for Olli, he would watch the rest of the race from the pit lane. A disappointing start to the weekend which had now left him a lot of work to do in races two and three.
For race two Olli would start from 4th place and was certainly in no mood to wait around off the start as he went straight into 2nd place with a fantastic launch off the line followed by a brave move into turn one! The move had left race leader, Zendeli in a comfortable lead of just under two seconds. Olli’s task of trying to take a win was now going to be very difficult but he was keeping the German honest with the gap hovering between 1.5 and 2 seconds.
Behind Olli had slowly been closed in by Wishofer with a hard charging Lawson no too far behind either. Impressively as the pressure grew, so did Olli’s pace which would be giving Zendeli something to think about further up the road. Heading into the final ten minutes the safety car was deployed after an incident further back which would turn the race on it’s head giving both Olli a chance to take the win, but also a more difficult task to hold onto 2nd.
When the safety car lights went out for the restart for the crowd gathered and viewers tuned into the live stream they would be treated to a one lap shootout with less than a minute on the clock. As the race got back underway, Zendeli had all but won the race with his restart but for Olli there would be some defending to do from Lawson who was now up to 2nd in the final few corners with everyone on the edge of their seats. Wheel to wheel through the last three corners it ended in a drag race to the line with Lawson just pinching 2nd by less than a tenth of a second. It was gut wrenching for Olli, but a podium was still a great result for his championship!
With the top eight positions reversed for the final race of the weekend Olli would start from the outside of row three. A good start to the race saw Olli move forward to as high as 4th in the early stages but his tyres quickly began to give up on him leaving him to fall to 8th place. This was no disaster, there was still a long way to go and Olli would now be trying to work with Zendeli and Wishofer to move forward. However, those plans were soon halted when a recovering Vesti came past leaving Olli in 9th as we went into the second half of the race.
Heading into the final few laps Olli was able to pass both Niklas Krutten and David Schumacher leaving him now in 7th place. This led him to start chasing down his teammate Fittipaldi but he wasn’t quite able to pass the Brazilian and was left to settle for 7th place. There’s no doubt Olli would have hoped for better but it was points on the board in what has been a consistent season for Olli across both championships.
Olli Caldwell: “Really difficult weekend here in Lausitzring, being involved in a big crash in Race 1 didn’t help us, but we managed to get a podium in race 2 and good points in race 3. Looking to learn from this weekend and keep consistently being in good positions for the future races.”
Olli remains 7th in the championship moving into round four at the Red Bull Ring which will mark the halfway point of the season. However, before then it will be a trip to Monza on the 3rd of June for round three of the championship. The track where Olli achieved his best result of his reduced Italian F4 debut campaign last year.