Formula Two’s first visit to the Hungaroring saw Daniel fight a weekend-long duel with championship leader Luciano Bacheta.
At a circuit famous for its lack of overtaking opportunities, the Dorset-based racer’s technical skills came to the fore as he worked with his engineers and with tyre suppliers Yokohama to squeeze the maximum performance from his car.
But his hopes were damaged from the start when he was sent out for first qualifying with too little fuel and had to cut short his laps to avoid stopping out on track. Further problems in second qualifying meant that he started both races further down the grid than his pace warranted.
He said: “It wasn’t a horrendous weekend – it was a weekend that with a bit of polish could have been a great weekend. A fourth position isn’t bad, but a fourth and ninth isn’t what I was aiming for. There was definitely potential for more but it didn’t quite work out.
“I worked very hard in the weekend to find the pace – there are tricks of the trade to running at Hungary and I had to pick them up. I was working with the Yokohama guys, and finding out what the quick cars were doing and taking it from there.
“It was unfortunate that I didn’t get the extra lap or two in quali one – I could have used the tyres a little bit more and we could have put ourselves further up the grid.
“I certainly seem to get things chucked at me, but there’s no point dwelling on the bad things.”
A “cracking” start in race one saw Daniel briefly seize third place, but Bacheta reclaimed the position – triggering a battle that would last all weekend as the championship front-runner fought to protect his lead in the standings against his quicker countryman.
Daniel said: “I was battling with Bacheta for the whole first race. I’d used my boosts early to get ahead of Zanella, so I had limited left to get past him. In the second race, even though I was ninth at the flag, I was fourth-quickest overall – I was held up by Bacheta driving to protect his championship lead.”
Now his thoughts are moving to the season finale at Monza on the weekend of 28-30 September, where drivers must cope with the abrupt change from F2’s highest-downforce circuit to its lowest.
He said: “It’s going to be a fast lap, lots of overtaking and exciting racing and because it’s such low downforce it’s going to make things quite difficult.
“It will probably be the worst the F2 cars handle all season, but that will lead to some good racing and I’m looking forward to having some good battles. Experience will be rewarded as the car will be moving around a lot.
“It’s going to be important to make sure you have good stability in the braking zones, and that you push right up to the limit without exceeding it. It’s a tricky circuit with a car that’s certainly going to be working you hard.
“I think realistically we’ve been knocking on the door of a very special result for some time now and I think the downfall has been not putting it all together. I’d like to go out with a bang and get a good result.”
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