FIA F3 European Championship
Round 26, Nurburgring, Germany, August 15th/17th 2014
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Weather: Cold, dry, darkening skies.
Race Report – Round 26 (Race 2):
This morning at the Nurburgring saw Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) claim victory from team-mate Tom Blomqvist, and Prema Powerteam’s Antonio Fuoco, at the end of a somewhat processional race that should really have been Max Verstappen’s, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver retiring with a blown engine that means he now has to serve three 10-grid place penalties over the next three races. Given the excitement of Saturday’s race this was a bit of an odd one really.
At the start Verstappen made the better start, Blomqvist proving somewhat slow off the line, which let the Dutchman through into the lead, Giovinazzi also going through into 2nd just ahead of Blomqvist who was at least able to fend off Ocon once he recovered from his poor start. Behind them, Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) was in 5th, from Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Jordan King (Carlin). One of the other drivers to have made a good start was Tatiana Calderon (Jo Zeller Racing), who was up to 10th by the end of lap 1, just behind Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Ed Jones (Carlin).
Even though he had the lead, it wasn’t that easy for Verstappen as Giovinazzi was right with the youngster and was keen to attempt an overtaking move at the first possible opportunity, while behind them Blomqvist was resisting Ocon for all he was worth as the French teenager piled on the pressure. Although no one seemed able to make a move, it did free up Fuoco to set a new fastest lap of the race as he tried to join in the train that was now developing behind Verstappen.
It soon became obvious that Verstappen was in some sort of trouble. By lap 8 he hadn’t managed to shake off Giovinazzi, and Blomqvist, Ocon and Fuoco were all lapping faster than the Red Bull Junior driver. As a result the top five were starting to bunch up, although no one seemed ready to make a move. The gaps were proving fluid with drivers alternately dropping back and then closing up again, but the opportunities to pass did not exist and Verstappen was holding station regardless of the apparent lack of speed plaguing him.
Meanwhile Calderon was holding off Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam), Jake Dennis (Carlin) and Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), all of whom seemed to want to try and relieve her of 10th place. She wasn’t about to let it go without a fight though and when Latifi dropped away a little she finally got a much needed breather…
As Verstappen continued towards what looked like it would be a well deserved win, suddenly it all went wrong as the Van Amersfoort car slowed to a crawl and Giovinazzi gratefully accepted the lead from the stricken youngster with five laps left to run. This seemed especially cruel given that if was an engine failure, and it certainly looked that way, the change would cost a swinging three race 10 grid place penalty. They might as well just hand the title to Ocon now, it seemed, given that the major threat to him was now about to lose out in a vastly unfair way. That promoted Blomqvist to 2nd and Ocon, who must have been thanking his lucky stars, to 3rd, while Verstappen parked forlornly in the pit lane.
Five laps later Giovinazzi came home to another win, from Blomqvist and Ocon. 4th was Fuoco, ahead of Auer, King, Rosenqvist, Jones, Calderon and Latifi. 11th went the way of Nissany, from Dennis van de Laar (Prema Powerteam), Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing), Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing), Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational), Michele Beretta (Eurointernational), Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Wing Chung “Andy” Chang (Team West-TecF3). The last finisher was Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) in 21st.
In addition to Verstappen, Jake Dennis (Carlin) and Felix Serralles (Team West-TecF3) also failed to finish this morning’s race.
The fastest lap of the race was set by Blomqvist.
Race 2 Results:
1st – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 25 laps, 34:39.329
2nd – No. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 0.771
3rd – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 1.404
4th – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 3.294
5th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 4.674
6th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 5.101
7th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 7.078
8th – No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 15.488
9th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 18.511
10th – No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 19.100
11th – No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 20.277
12th – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NLD, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 21.717
13th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 31.907
14th – No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 40.530
15th – No. 11, Richard Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, gap 41.206
16th – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, gap 41.247
17th – No. 29, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 47.283
18th – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 48.368
19th – No. 17, Sandro Zeller, SWI, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 56.268
20th – No. 22, Wing Chung (Andy) Chang, MAC, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes- Benz, gap 1:06.446
21st – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 2 laps
No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, lap 22
No. 30, Max Verstappen*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, lap 20
No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, lap 15
No. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:22:259, lap 7, 98.686mph, 158.820kph