After a dramatic set of races at Silverstone just a few weeks ago, the FIA Formula 3 Championship headed to the Hockenheimring, as it now follows the lead of the DTM calendar until the next time the series heads back to the Baden-Württemberg region later in the year.
Prema Powerteam’s Italian charger, Raffaele Marciello, leads the standings by over 30 points from his nearest rival, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport’s Felix Rosenqvist, and put himself in the prime position of extending his lead, as the vast field of young future talents set about taming the 4.574km track. With its technical sections and fast sweeping corners, the track brings a challenge to all that have come to race there.
There are some absentees this weekend, with Michela Cerruti returning to F3 action in a fortnight’s time at Brands Hatch, with her now former teammate, Gary Thompson, stating via Twitter that he would no longer be competing in the championship after having raced at both Monza and Silverstone. Russian driver Daniil Kyvat would be making a guest appearance for Carlin Racing, and made an impression for the weekend ahead.
Marciello was clearly one to keep an eye on again, as he was the class of the field, as the first session determined the grid orders for Races 1 and 2. He was embroiled in a battle for Pole Position with several protagonists, including his teammates Lucas Auer and Alex Lynn, with the Prema Powerteam squad securing the front three places on the grid as the session ended, with the Brit ending up second and the Austrian driver third. ma-con’s Sven Müller was also in the hunt, but ended up rounding out the top six, behind Eurointernational’s Tom Blomqvist and Fortec Motorsports’ Félix Serrallés. The top three fastest drivers were split by less than two tenths of a second, showing the ultra-competitive nature of the series this season.
With the grid for the second race being determined by the second fastest times by the drivers, Marciello secured another pole position for Race 2, with Blomqvist taking the other slot on the front row, just under three tenths behind the Ferrari Driver Academy protégé. Auer also secured another top three place on the grid, running in the low 1m34s, pipping Serrallés by just 0.025 seconds. Müller secured fifth place n the grid ahead of third-generation driver Josh Hill, with Fortec securing two places at the sharp end of the grid.
Second qualifying, however, would see a Carlin Racing front row for Race 3, with Kvyat making history by being the first guest driver to secure a pole position in the championship’s history, denying teammate Jordan King by just 0.051 seconds in the dying minutes of the session itself, with Auer securing third place on the grid once again, being the best Prema Powerteam driver. The session was interrupted by an off-track excursion by Rosenqvist with just six minutes left, ending his session early, but he stayed in fourth, ahead of Serrallés and Lynn.
TCF resident blogger Tatiana Calderon continues with her steep learning curve, as she has placed at the back end of the field with Double R Racing for all three races, but is hopeful of some welcome progress at another track that is new to the young Colombian. Her teammates Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Galeal were also lacking pace, as the team continues to work hard on making changes for all the team, with all three drivers placing in the lower tem places of the field.
Marciello was happy with the two pole postions he’d already scored, but there was a technical issue that plagued his F312 Dallara-Mercedes, meaning that he qualified 10th for Race 3, but was brimming with confidence regarding the races: “That is a pity, but when I win the two races in which I am starting from pole, I have scored a lot of points, too.”
Russian racer Kyvat relished the fact that he had beaten several drivers that have a plethora of experience in F3, and was looking forward to his first foray in his guest appearance this weekend: “Being on pole position for my maiden Formula 3 race is really great and a special feeling. I am very happy. My lap was mega. I am feeling really well and everything fits well.”
Expect another action-packed weekend of racing, as the stars of tomorrow compete on an iconic battleground…