2014 FIA F3 European Championship, Rounds 26-27 – Qualifying Report

FIA F3 European Championship
Rounds 26-27,
Nürburgring, Germany, August 15th/17th 2014
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas

Weather: Fine, dry, sunny.

Qualifying Report – Rounds 26 and 27 (Races 2 and 3):
At the Nürburgring this morning Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) proved the dominant force, taking pole position for today’s two races, ahead of Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) and his own team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi (for Race 2) with Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) in 3rd for Race 3. The session, which was held over from Saturday after track repairs took too long to afford them enough time to run the session at its scheduled time, was run very early (08:10), the F3s proving to be the poor relations when things go wrong on the DTM support package. However, the drivers are young. They’ll cope!

All 24 cars were out on the track very quickly, everyone keen to make the most of the dry conditions after yesterday’s changeable weather. Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam) was on the pace early on, but the main contenders were all still on their out laps, so it was not especially significant. Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) was soon on the pace too, to claim 2nd, just 0.08 seconds off Latifi. Verstappen’s first flying lap was good enough for 6th and neither he nor Ocon seemed to be hanging about.

Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) was next to show, briefly going fastest until Ocon came back round to set an even faster time. Verstappen improved for 2nd, ahead of Dennis van de Laar (Prema Powerteam), which meant Rosenqvist was now 4th ahead of Jordan King (Carlin), Fuoco, Felix Serralles (Team West-TecF3) and Latifi, who had slipped down the order to 10th.

The next raft of improvements came when Jake Dennis (Carlin) nipped into 3rd only to be pushed down when first Giovinazzi, and then Auer, went faster to snatch 2nd and 3rd respectively. Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) was currently a lot further up the timing screens than is customary in 5th. Was this about to become one of those odd sessions you occasionally get when the conditions are abnormal or was it just too early for some?

Whatever was going on it didn’t take long for Blomqvist to go quickest of all, from King, Latifi and Tatiana Calderon (Jo Zeller Racing), the Colombian driver often comfortable on the really big-name circuits. Ocon had dropped to 5th and – by his standards at least – appeared to be struggling. However, this was a long way from being over, especially as Verstappen was now only 10th. Dennis was still pushing on and was up to 2nd briefly before Nissany came back round, but then Verstappen rocketed round for provisional pole, while Ed Jones (Carlin) finally appeared at the sharp end, in 4th just ahead of Serralles. Amazing what a difference stable conditions can make really…

Ocon was 4th in a “blink and you’d miss it” moment, with Rosenqvist edging back into 2nd, and Giovinazzi pushing the championship leader down a place when he went 4th fastest. Blomqvist responded with a new pole time of 1.21.650 (with only Verstappen and Giovinazzi also having able to get into the 1.21s), and it was all change behind, Ocon improving to 6th, but unable to get the better of Rosenqvist and Auer to say nothing of the top three. Ocon lost another place when Fuoco went 4th and then Nissany had an off and the red flags came out, bringing the session to a temporary halt with just over six minutes of track time left.

The order was Blomqvist, from Verstappen, Giovinazzi, Fuoco, Rosenqvist, Auer, Ocon, Jones, King and Dennis. Latifi was now 11th, from Serralles, Nissany, van de Laar, Calderon, Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing), Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational) and Michele Berretta (Eurointernational). 21st was Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing), ahead of Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Wing Chung “Andy” Chang (Team West-TecF3).

At the restart there might not have been that much time left, but that wasn’t going to hamper Ocon if he could help it. A series of personal best sector times showed how hard the youngster was pushing, but the question was would it be enough. Fuoco was similarly determined it seemed, but again a series of green sector times wasn’t enough to move him up from 4th. Time really was beginning to run out.

Improvements were still possible, as was demonstrated when Toril improved to move up to 19th, but there didn’t seem to be any significant changes forthcoming. In fact it was only on his last flying lap before the flag that Ocon managed to scrabble through to the 2nd row with the 4th fastest time of the morning.

Blomqvist starts race 2 (Round 26) from pole, from Verstappen, Giovinazzi, Ocon, Fuoco, Rosenqvist, Auer, King, Jones and Dennis. Latifi will start 11th, ahead of Serralles, Nissany, van de Laar, Calderon, Szymkowiak, Gelael, Menezes, Goddard and Ferrucci. Toril lines up 21st from Beretta, Zeller and Chang.

For this afternoon’s race (Round 27) it is again Blomqvist and Verstappen who make up the front row, from Fuoco, Ocon, Giovinazzi, Rosenqvist, Auer (who had a lap time cancelled by the officials), King, Jones and Dennis. 11th this time will be Serralles, from Nissany, Latifi, van de Laar, Calderon, Szymkowiak, Gelael, Ferrucci, birthday boy Goddard and Menezes. 21st goes to Zeller, from Toril, Beretta and Chang.

The next race is less than three hours away so it’s going to be a very busy day for the F3 boys.

Race 2 Grid (Fastest Qualifying Laps of Qualifying Session 2):
1stNo. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:21.650
2nd – No. 30, Max Verstappen*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:21.790
3rd – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:21.864
4th – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:21.923
5th – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:21.939
6th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.051
7th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.092
8th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.153
9th – No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.244
10th – No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.360
11th – No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.461
12th – No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.473
13th – No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.542
14th – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NLD, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.600
15th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.735
16th – No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.831
17th – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.984
18th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:23.065
19th – No. 11, Richard Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:23.072
20th – No. 29, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.086
21st – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:23.157
22nd – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.329
23rd – No. 17, Sandro Zeller, SWI, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.496
24th – No. 22, Wing Chung (Andy) Chang, MAC, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:24.290

*Rookie

Race 3 Amended Grid (2nd Fastest Qualifying Laps of Qualifying Session 2 after penalties):
1st – No. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:21.771
2nd – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.001
3rd – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.112
4th – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.129
5th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1;22.144
6th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.237
7th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.319
8th – No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22.451
9th – No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.481
10th – No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.578
11th – No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.623
12th – No. 30, Max Verstappen*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:21.795**
13th – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NLD, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.630
14th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:22.802
15th – No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:23.129
16th – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:23.172
17th – No. 29, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.242
18th – No. 11, Richard Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:23.247
19th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:23.251
20th – No. 17, Sandro Zeller, SWI, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.508
21st – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:23.511
22nd – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:23.711
23rd – No. 22, Wing Chung (Andy) Chang, MAC, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:24.345

No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, not participating in race 3
**No. 30, drop of 10 grid positions

*Rookie