For my last race of the season we returned to Hockenheim for the season finale of the F3 Euro Series in support of a crucial DTM meeting.
I last raced at Hockenheim in the curtain-raiser for the championship back in April, but I was very much looking forward to my return as last time we raced, our VW powered Dallara F312 had just been delivered a few days prior to the first race.
It seemed everyone was struggling with grip at the start of practice, I went out and did a few laps which felt like they were way off the pace but actually put me in 5th at about halfway through the session. But it seemed most of our competitors dialled the car in quicker than us leaving me 9th and 7th in the two sessions.
We were still struggling with grip throughout the qualifying session. I still managed to set two very close lap times putting me 10th fastest overall, but my second fastest time was good enough for 7th on the grid for race one, which set some good foundations for us heading into the races.
I started well in the first race of the weekend and was initially able to hold seventh position, before a collision with Carlos Sainz Jnr meant that I was served a drive-through penalty. It was unfortunate and it was a very slight touch, but it ruined a good race for the both of us. However I kept pushing hard and secured two points at the chequered flag.
I held my position at the start of the second race but as we headed into turn two, I got boxed in which dropped me to 13th position during the opening stages of the race, but I fought back to get back up to 11th position behind GP2 runner Felipe Nasr. Despite pushing Nasr hard as I tried to work my way into the top ten, I couldn’t find a way past the Brazilian so had to settle for 11th position.
My starts this season have been fairly good for the majority of the season, but it seems for the final weekend that some teams had found a better way to get their cars off the line. This was especially evident in the last race of the weekend where I got a decent start, but still lost 2 places into the first corner dropping to 12th position, before an incident involving Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lucas Auer promoted me back to tenth position.
I soon set about chasing down Raffaele Marciello in ninth and Lucas Wolf running in eighth, and as I caught them Wolf made an error exiting Sudkurve, allowing Marciello past. Wolf lost his momentum, which allowed me to gain a slipstream advantage and go for ninth position at the hairpin. However Wolf outbraked himself and had to quickly take avoidance action to miss Marciello collecting me which bent my steering. I still managed to recover and nurse the car home for a top ten finish to round off the season.
Overall, It’s been a very testing season for us, we’ve had a tough time understanding the car but there are definitely a lot of positives to take from my debut F3 season, and I can take what I’ve learnt this season forward into next year and indeed, the rest of my career. I also want to take this opportunity to thank ma-con for the chance to race with them this season.
Thanks for taking the time to read my second instalment with The Checkered Flag, I’ll keep you all in the loop with all my developments over the winter months and look forward to writing to you all soon.