Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist became the first Swede ever to win the classic RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 race at Zandvoort last weekend, as he crossed the line five seconds clear of runner-up Marco Wittmann to add his name to a list of winners that includes the likes of Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard.

After a couple of hectic days in the aftershock of his career’s biggest moment so far, Felix now shares his views on how he won a race in which he wasn’t even sure he would compete just one week earlier, and how he managed to overcome a high-speed crash to produce Mücke Motorsport’s second ever victory in one of the most important events on the single-seater calendar.

Mattias Persson: 2011 RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 winner – sounds OK, doesn’t it?
Felix Rosenqvist: It’s not too bad! It’s a good feeling.

Mattias Persson: You took the lead just seconds after the start when the Prema Powerteam guys collided on the run down to Turn 1, and then you controlled the race from the front. What thoughts were going through your head when you approached the chequered flag and realised that you were going to win?
Felix Rosenqvist: To be honest, I actually didn’t know it was the final lap, but when I saw the chequered flag it was a big relief. It’s always tough to run on your own at the front, as time just passes by so slowly when you are counting down the laps. Added to that, you are the one who has the most to lose from a mistake, so the pressure is quite intense – but that’s also something you always get better at handling.

Mattias Persson: You crashed on the fastest section of the lap during Saturday free practice, and the next time you returned to the cockpit was in the do-or-die setting of qualifying. How was your confidence for the car affected by that crash?
Felix Rosenqvist: You inevitably do become a bit concerned, but I really didn’t think about it at all during qualifying. I think it’s important that you’re able to put things like that behind you and move on, and also that you make sure to learn from it.

Mattias Persson: Many people have described this victory as somewhat of a breakthrough for you. Is that how you feel as well?
Felix Rosenqvist: My performance as a driver was about the same as in any other race this year. It’s all about getting the complete package together – engineers, mechanics, driver, and the co-operation between us. My job is to always give 110 % and extract everything from what I’ve got; sometimes it’s good enough for fourth, sometimes for eighth, and this time – when everything came together – it was enough to win.

Mattias Persson: If you could choose the three main factors that contributed the most to last Sunday’s success, what would they be?
Felix Rosenqvist: First of all, things were obviously made easier when Roberto (Merhi) and Daniel (Juncadella) clashed off the line, but I still feel I could have challenged them into Turn 1 since I made a very good start. Secondly, our car performed extremely well throughout an entire race, which is definitely one of the main keys. The third contributing factor was that I was able to do a clean race without any real mistakes, and managed to produce some “perfect” laps when we needed them. That enabled me to open up a gap of five or six seconds, which I could then control.

Mattias Persson: You have always seemed to enjoy racing in the Netherlands; last year saw you claim your first two F3 victories at Assen, and you took to the podium in all three Formula 3 Euro Series races at Zandvoort earlier this season. What’s the deal with you and tulips!?
Felix Rosenqvist: It’s actually pretty funny. I don’t know why, but things have just turned out in such a way that I’ve been on the podium every time I’ve raced in the Netherlands. I like the country, the people and the culture, but I don’t think that has any effect on my results. It’s probably just a mix of coincidences and the fact that I like both the Assen and Zandvoort circuits very much.

Mattias Persson: You have already said that this achievement – as important as it may be – will not get in the way of your preparations for the rest of the campaign. Next up is the Formula 3 Euro Series meeting at Silverstone in about three weeks – what are your thoughts going into that weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: No, I think it’s vital to stay focused on the Formula 3 Euro Series season – that’s the most important thing in my career at the moment. We have three rounds to go and things look very positive. Silverstone is a circuit which I haven’t driven at a lot – I just did a short low downforce test there ahead of Macau last year – so I can’t say too much about it. Having said that, though, I know that most drivers enjoy going there, and the section around Copse through to Maggotts and Becketts is brilliant. It will be a big challenge, but also lots of fun!

Mattias Persson: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all those who followed you last weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: I just really want to thank them all, and I hope they feel part of this success. The support I’ve had throughout the season, and especially following my victory, has been absolutely fantastic. I received so many messages and congratulations after Zandvoort that I simply couldn’t answer them all. Unbelievable! It really means a lot to see how much people want you to succeed, and I am enormously thankful for all the support I get from my fans!