2013 FIA F3 European Championship
Rounds 7 & 8, Hockenheim, Germany, May 3rd/5th 2013
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Weather: Cool, dry.
Qualifying Report – Rounds 7 & 8 (Races 1 & 2):
The qualifying sessions for the latest rounds of the FIA European Championship qualifying sessions were run late on Friday afternoon at Hockenheim, and by the time the first of two twenty minute dashes to the the flag were complete, and penalties had been handed out for not respecting track limits, it was no surprise to find that Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) was on pole for both races. For Race 1 the current series leader will share the front row with team-mate Alex Lynn, while Lucas Auer, also for Prema, starts 3rd. For Race 2, Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) broke the Prema stranglehold to go 2nd, though Auer again starts 3rd.
Certainly prior to the session Marciello seemed very relaxed for a man who was about to go out and qualify, and he soon put a marker down. However, given the slight dampness in the air (and thus on the track), there was a strong possibility that pole would go to the last man to cross the line at the end of the session. Marciello clearly wasn’t going to have it all his own way as Auer and Lynn quickly proved, slotting into 1st and 2nd, ahead of Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport) and Jordan King (Carlin).
It was all change then with Blomqvist getting ahead of Marciello, and then Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport) joined the battle with a time that put him 3rd, while team-mate Josh Hill leaped into 2nd, the two of them split by Dennis van der Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing) seconds later. Also featuring strongly at this stage was guest driver Daniil Kvyat (Carlin), the Russian going 4th behind Hill and Blomqvist.
This being Hockenheim, it wasn’t long before the observers started spotting drivers exceeding the track limits at the first corner, getting all four wheels over the line. The first man to be shown the black and white warning flag as a result was Nicholas Latifi (Carlin). He wouldn’t be the last by a long way. At least he has the excuse of not having been to the circuit before. That could not be said for many of the others…
At the top Auer had taken over provisional pole, from Marciello, while Serralles was now 4th behind Hill, but then William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport) got in on the act, the engine change carried out after free practice apparently having done the trick. He was up to 3rd anyway, whatever the reason, although Hill edged ahead almost immediately, while Derani improved to 5th, just as Sven Müller (ma-con) pushed Auer off the top slot.
That was more than Marciello was prepared to tolerate, and a lap later he had reclaimed the position, which was when Lynn started to show, he and the series leader battling for pole, with Müller getting in there too, just to make sure that Prema didn’t get too comfortable. Marciello responded by going faster still, and then Serralles shot up to 2nd ahead of Auer and Buller.
Kvyat was also starting to get the hang of the place, as a time that put him 4th proved, but he hadn’t quite got the measure of Marciello. Mind you, neither had anyone else really. Auer might have thought he had, going fastest of all, but Marciello had the answer a lap later, despite Lynn also going even quicker.
There was simply no stopping the Italian though, and he responded to everything they could throw at him by upping his own pace and so, once the flag dropped, he had two more pole positions to his name. With Lynn 2nd and Auer 3rd he will still have to watch out at the start though. After all the penalties for not respecting track limits were imposed, Serralles ended up 4th for race 1, ahead of Müller, Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam), King, Hill and Kvyat. 11th was Harry Tincknell (Carlin), followed by Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Buller, Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), van der Laar, Måns Grenhagen (Van Amersfoort Racing), Latifi, Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Derani and Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport). In 21st will be Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing), then Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), Andre Rudersdorf (ma-con), Michael Lewis (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Edward Jones (Fortec Motorsport), Sean Gelael (Double R Racing), Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport), Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing). Jones would later be penalised two grid slots for failing to respect yellow flags.
For race 2, apart from Marciello at the sharpest end, the order was Blomqvist, Auer, Serralles, Müller, Hill, Lynn, van der Laar, Cheever and Rosenqvist. Kvyat was 11th, from King, Tincknell, Buller, Nissany, Gilbert, Latifi, Grenhagen, Derani and Goddard. 21st was Mardenborough, with Rudersdorf, Giovinazzi, Wolf, Lewis, Jones, Gelael, Zeller and Calderon filling the remaining places.