Budapest 2018: Master Class Race Day Reactions

The pilots offer their thoughts on an epic race

Brageot celebrates

Sonka wins, Brageot gets a podium and there was a host of  over-Gs. It was a memorable race. The pilots have the last word...

1st Martin Sonka
"It's a beautiful view from on top of the podium. I love it every time. It was a very important race because now we are in the middle of the season and of course it's really important for us to stay in contact with the top pilot. Because we lost points in the technical DQs it was not an easy task to collect as much points as possible. It's great. We change all six cylinders for this race, which was a lot of work, the whole team was working hard for this moment so a big thank you to my team. And thanks to fans we've had such great support from the Czech fans here."

2nd Mika Brageot
"The feeling is really good. We were targeting the Final 4 for so long now and were getting closer and closer. The team performance and team spirit was amazing in the way we have been approaching our goals. And today: the Final 4, podium, second place. What else? I remember my first podium in Fort Worth as a Challenger Class pilot, here it's the same, even better! We were aiming for this for more than a season and we knew that we could do it, but now we have achieved it and that will be with us forever, so it's a good feeling."

3rd Matt Hall
"It's been a stressful week for us. We've had a few things go wrong, but the team pulled everything together. We were still doing engine runs on the plane this morning, so as I say it's been stressful. This was Goulian's fourth Final 4 in a row so that's good consistency. I was trying not to let World Championship tactics get in my flying today, but when I heard his time, I decided to be conservative and just beat him, not try and worry about the other two. That might turn out to be a mistake with Sonka later in the year, but at least it pushes Mikey down a couple of points behind me."

4th Michael Goulian
"The Final 4 run was interesting, I was a little rushed getting into the track. There was a delay between me and Martin and I was pushing it. Maybe I wasn't quite settled enough on the start. I'm not sure how I hit that gate, it just happened. It was enough I could feel it, so I knew I had to push so somebody else could make a mistake and I could still get a podium. So my mindset was go, go, go, go. I was actually surprised I was given those other two penalties, but when you've got three seconds of penalties, you just have to go with it."

5th François Le Vot
"I'm really happy with my result. I've been consistent and I was growing in confidence and then everything went down slightly. I was counting on better weather conditions, because handling this raceplane with the new modifications is different and I couldn't practise that before I entered the track. But I'm happy."

6th Cristian Bolton
"It was an amazing race, and as I always say, Budapest has a strong connection with the Red Bull Air Race and everyone feels that way. It's almost magical to be able to fly in the middle of the town and under the Chain Bridge. We are happy and have done an amazing job this week. Every time we put the plane in the track we cut our time and that takes a team effort. Everybody in my team has done an amazing job and I'm very grateful for my team, so good job guys, thank you. We wanted to be in the Final 4, but Mika pulled out an impressive time, but it's great for us to be sixth."

7th Nicolas Ivanoff
"It's always nice to be in Budapest for the race. It's the spirit of the race. It's the first time in a long time that I was through to the Round of 8, so I got some points. It's not a big one but at least it's some points. We have to find why I'm so slow, but we're on the right track and we can start taking steps forward."

8th Ben Murphy
"It was fantastic here this week; a lot of firsts and obviously flying under the bridge. We got through to the Round of 8 again so that's in 50 per cent of our races so far, so we're very happy. Arguably, and with the benefit of hindsight, we pushed a little too hard in the heat against Mikey Goulian, but our tactic was that we knew we had to push, but just a little too hard. We got more points on the championship board and just the experience of getting through to the Round of 8 again is a massively valuable learning experience for us. The plane is performing well, the team is performing well, and we'll just carry on with the way we're going."

9th Petr Kopfstein
"We were super excited after Qualifying and we knew we could fly quicker. The track got even faster today. I heard a lot of over-Gs and I heard Nicolas' time was not the fastest one. I knew I did not have to push really hard, so I think I relaxed too much, which was not the plan, but it happened again. We have 9th place, which is super disappointing for our team. But we have to get up and get ready for Kazan. We are taking the raceplane back to the Czech Republic and the big modifications are coming up after this race, and I think we'll get even faster and stronger for the next stop. I think we lost the race in the last VTM – I haven't had time to really look at the data and details but it looks like there was not enough pulling in the last VTM. But as I said, there were so many over-Gs, and we had gotten an over-G also in the training, so maybe I was a little too afraid. We were probably too conservative in the race. I tried to change a lot of things, but it happened again. I have to try to fly more with the raceplane and try to get the VTMs tighter."

10th Kirby Chambliss
"The track really is not challenging, and that's part of the problem – the track's super easy. The challenging part is not to over-G. You've got fractions of a second before the gate, and if you're right on it, you're going to be fast. On my over-G, I went for 0.066 of a second and I needed to be less than .06 of a second. So it's fractions and you're right there on the edge. I was super surprised, and other than that, we were fast. But Lady Luck has to be on your side, and we're not seeing it this year. So where in the hell is it? Honestly, there's not a whole lot I can change. Again, I flew really well. We were fast. We're always going to try to win races, but does this screw us for the season? Pretty much, probably, unless some other guys are going to make some huge mistakes. We've got to get a little bit of luck going for ourselves. I am so disappointed. I'm disappointed for myself, I'm disappointed for my team. They've worked really hard. In this race in particular we've had some problems to overcome and they took care of that and the plane is running well. I'm flying good and smooth. It just sucks."

11th Yoshihide Muroya
"The flight was quite smooth until over-G'ing. We had a good Qualifying and good Free Practice, so we were kind of confident to go through. But after the pullout I felt a strong wind shear gusting, and I tried to react in time to get control, but I couldn't get it in time. We are not going to change any tactics. In this race the over-G was an unlucky gust we got, that's it. So we will stick with our plan and just go for the last four races."

12th Pete McLeod
"We have a lot of energy, a lot of speed on this track. There aren't a lot of turns between the big turns at the end. Typically that's where the over-Gs have been happening. I got one of those on Friday, today it was a little different story for me. Over-Gs are a problem but probably shouldn't have been for me today. I'm really disappointed because I feel like I shouldn't be handed an over-G. I don't feel that the data is accurate. I think it's highly unlikely based on over-G'ing in the centre of the track on the pullout from the Vertical Turn. We know there are some imperfections in the system, and it's gotten better, but it's tough. When you look at the data and you know that it's really unlikely that that's a real penalty, what do you do with that? I mean, I went out there and Cristian flew an OK time, but definitely I could beat that, and was on my way to doing that. There's no positive to take away from that when you feel a little bit cheated."

13th Juan Velarde
"This track is very fast, it's very straight so we don't have any high-G turn to slow down the raceplane before the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre – that's why we have to manage the Gs. It's been an issue all weekend and almost everyone has had over-Gs. I think I played my cards well. I've been flying smoothly, but my gameplan was to be aggressive, because yesterday I didn't pull enough Gs and you have to risk – like in every motorsport – if you play conservative you will lose. So my strategy was to be aggressive but I pushed it and now I have to wait for Kazan. I've had two zeros so far this year and that's not good, but there's still four races to go and that's a lot of points, so I look ahead and prepare for the next race."


14th Matthias Dolderer
•Matthias Dolderer was unavailable for comment due to not competing and illness.