Felix romped to his first F3 pole of 2014 as he edged ahead of Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen in a thrilling three-way scrap on Friday evening, grabbing first place on the grid for Saturday’s Race 1 by just 0.003 seconds.
Following the session, Felix explained that the lap – which came in the dying moments of qualifying and was completed without any slipstreaming assistance – had required maximum precision between the Nuremberg barriers.
“That was definitely one of my best qualifying laps,” Felix said. “I got a great run through Turn 1 – which has always been good to me – and the esses were as quick as I’m able to get them. It was an almost perfect lap; I don’t think it’s possible to drive much faster than that around here without a slipstream.”
Felix, however, says the final key to pole was neither of the opening corner sequences, and instead pinpointed the final Dutzendteich hairpin as the most vital spot for his last-gasp success.
“The final corner is extremely difficult; it’s much more to it than meets the eye,” Felix continues. “The car is moving around a lot on the exit, but on my final lap I just told myself I wouldn’t get off the throttle no matter what. I happened to time it all pretty well, and I was very close to the wall. I’m happy with all corners of that lap and the team really needed this.”
With most of the weekend still ahead of him, however, Felix refuses to slip into the comfort zone, knowing that he faces a serious challenge from his most immediate rivals.
“The majority of the weekend still lies ahead of us, and you don’t score points for qualifying well,” Felix concludes. “Today was good, but it required me driving at a level where there was absolutely no room for error. We still need to find more performance. Esteban and Max will be very tough competitors tomorrow, and overtaking is perfectly possible around here. The weekend has only just begun and I’m well aware that things might change for the worse if we don’t work even harder going forwards.”
The first race of the weekend takes place at 10.40 local German time tomorrow (Saturday).