Felix Rosenqvist was elated with three podiums and a win at Silverstone to propel him back into the title hunt, after a disastrous opening round at Monza. The Swedish Mucke Motorsport driver discusses his season so far in an exclusive feature for theCheckeredFlag.co.uk.
Without a tow in qualifying, stranding him in the frenzied midfield pack, Monza was always going to be a struggle for Rosenqvist. Spun out by Red Bull-junior Tom Blomqvist in the first race and unable to make progress in the dreadful conditions which caused race three to be cancelled, a fourth place in race 2 was the Mucke driver’s only decent finish of the weekend, leaving him in need of a stellar weekend at Silverstone to recover the ground lost to Raffaele Marciello in the title challenge.
“It could have been a quite good weekend; in the first race I was P5 or something, then we had the incident, P4 in the second one and the last one was basically rained off, so it wasn’t a great weekend but mainly due to a bad qualifying. I don’t really like those tracks where you need a slipstream because it’s more of a lottery. I look forward to coming back to those circuits where we belong, like Hockenheim and Zandvoort, where we will probably have an advantage over the British teams.”
A lack of testing due to heavy snowfall on the continent has hardly helped matters, especially considering the departure of team-mate Pascal Wehrlein, whose late promotion to the DTM means his race-winning performance at Monza will be his only appearance in F3 of the season.
“We should have had a test at the Lausitzring before this weekend which was also cancelled due to snow, so that one was quite bad for us. If we had gone there we would have been able to compare the data we had with previous years and I also have a good feeling with that track so that was a bit of a shame.
“Obviously we have one less experienced driver now; I am the only really experienced guy in the team now. Michael [Lewis] has done one year in Europe, it’s actually his third year in F3, but I’ve been in the same team for three years and Pascal was also at the same level, so now it’s more up to me, but it doesn’t really affect my performance on track.”
Rosenqvist got off to a good start to the Silverstone weekend in qualifying, two thirds and a second putting him at the sharp end for the races. The Swede finished third in race one, having lost out to Alex Lynn while attempting to pass Harry Tincknell around the outside at Copse, Rosenqvist took the lead off the start in race two, only to be caught out when the safety car pulled in, and was passed by Tincknell and Will Buller.
“It was just a misjudgement; I didn’t know where the safety car line was. I thought it was on the start-finish straight, but it was before the last corner, so that was a stupid mistake from me. I just have to apologise for that one.”
Rosenqvist passed Buller around the outside at Brooklands and then repeated the move on Tincknell, putting two wheels on the grass as the Carlin man squeezed Rosenqvist to the very edge of the circuit.
“I think it’s a good place to overtake; the track is wide and you can also go on the outside and have a lot of different lines for Brooklands. I took the chance while I had it, as normally you don’t get so many opportunities. I always had an advantage out of Sector 1, a good tow, and just decided to go for it even if I was quite far back. It was a bit on the edge because I had two wheels on the grass. It was obviously quite slippery, for the next corner the wheels were covered in mud, but I managed to make it and from there on it was quite basic.”
Rosenqvist lead almost all the way in race three, defending from Marciello until the penultimate lap when the Ferrari protégé finally managed to hustle his way by into Stowe. Nonetheless, Rosenqvist was pleased with his third successive podium result, which puts him second in the standings and full of confidence for the next round at Hockenheim.
“We have had some good running now and we’re gathering more data all the time so I think it’s looking more likely that we will close up to Prema than they will move further away. I think we’re in a good position.”