• Wednesday , 18 October 2017

Rain sets up dramatic qualifying session in Belgium

picThe inevitable rain finally struck Spa-Francorchamps in time for Friday afternoon’s second FIA F3 European Championship qualifying session, laying the foundations for a topsy-turvy set of grids for the final two races of the weekend.

The skies opened just before the start of the session, which was delayed by 15 minutes as race officials waited for conditions to stabilise. They finally did so enough for the first exploratory laps to be completed on slicks, only for Mitch Gilbert to crash on his first flyer and bring out the red flags.

Once the session resumed, the rain had intensified, with the full field heading out on wet-weather Hankooks. What followed next can only be described as a lottery, with intermittent downpours wetting various parts of the lap at various stages, and with the rain finally easing off towards the end – when most drivers (including Felix) were suffering from overheating tyres.

Out of it all to bag his first-ever pole position came Gustavo Menezes of Van Amersfoort Racing, the American leaving it until the later stages to join the track, enjoying superior grip from his tyres when conditions were at their best to out-pace the rest of the field by over a second. Felix wound up ninth overall, 3.7 seconds shy of Menezes, having momentarily topped the session during its damper stages. The outcome means Felix will start tomorrow’s Race 2 from ninth.

On the list charting the second-fastest lap times, which is based to form the Race 3 grid, Felix ended up tenth as the leading Mücke Motorsport runner. Pole for Race 3 went to Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), who continued his streak of strong qualifying performances.

Ferrari-backed Antonio Fuoco had to sit out the majority of the session after literally driving into the wall on the straight leading into Eau Rouge in the early stages.

FELIX:

“That was a very strange session. I normally don’t believe in luck, but sometimes it exists – and this was all about being at the right place at the right time, with no chance of knowing when or where that was! It was raining at one corner on one lap, and the next time around it would be completely dry and vice versa; it was one of those classic Spa sessions, I suppose. My tyres were absolutely burning towards the end when conditions were at their best, and there was nothing more to do. It is what it is, so we can’t be happy neither unhappy.

“It’s not been a great day today, but the racing hasn’t started yet and I will give it my all in each of the three races. I think the podium is still perfectly possible, particularly given the unusual formation of the grid for Races 2 and 3, and I’m ready to fight for every position.”

RESULTS

Grid for Race 3 (second-fastest times)

Pos. No Driver Laps Time Gap
1 2 Esteban Ocon / FRA Prema Powerteam 0 7 2:27.897
2 10 John Bryant-Meisner / SWE Fortec Motorsports 0 9 2:28.320
3 21 Félix Serrallés / USA Team West-TecF3 0 8 2:28.404
4 14 Felipe Guimaraes / BRA Double R Racing 0 8 2:29.038
5 30 Max Verstappen / NED Van Amersfoort Racing 0 8 2:29.562
6 16 Gustavo Menezes / USA Van Amersfoort Racing 0 8 2:29.710
7 18 Tatiana Calderón / COL Jo Zeller Racing 0 7 2:30.495
8 8 Michele Beretta / ITA Eurointernational 0 8 2:30.827
9 1 Nicholas Latifi / CAN Prema Powerteam 0 7 2:30.978
10 27 Felix Rosenqvist / SWE kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 0 8 2:31.026
11 3 Lucas Auer / AUT kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 0 8 2:31.033
12 15 Jules Szymkowiak / NED Van Amersfoort Racing 0 8 2:31.047
13 22 Hector Hurst / GBR Team West-TecF3 0 8 2:31.236
14 11 Richard Goddard / AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport 0 8 2:31.655
15 5 Jordan King / GBR Carlin 0 9 2:31.986
16 4 Roy Nissany / ISR kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 0 8 2:32.586
17 28 Jake Dennis / GBR Carlin 0 9 2:32.785
18 31 Tom Blomqvist / GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 0 7 2:32.861
19 19 Antonio Giovinazzi / ITA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 0 8 2:33.396
20 17 Sandro Zeller / SUI Jo Zeller Racing 0 8 2:33.540
21 29 Santino Ferrucci / USA Eurointernational 0 8 2:33.579
22 20 Sean Gelael / INA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 0 8 2:34.856
23 12 Alexander Toril / ESP ThreeBond with T-Sport 0 8 2:34.981
NOT CLASSIFIED
- 25 Antonio Fuoco / ITA Prema Powerteam 0 2
- 9 Mitchell Gilbert / AUS Fortec Motorsports 0 1

Grid for Race 2 (outright times)

Pos. No Driver Laps Time Gap
1 16 Gustavo Menezes / USA Van Amersfoort Racing 8 2:25.458
2 30 Max Verstappen / NED Van Amersfoort Racing 8 2:26.616 1.158
3 2 Esteban Ocon / FRA Prema Powerteam 7 2:27.380 1.922
4 10 John Bryant-Meisner / SWE Fortec Motorsports 9 2:27.647 2.189
5 21 Félix Serrallés / USA Team West-TecF3 8 2:27.767 2.309
6 12 Alexander Toril / ESP ThreeBond with T-Sport 8 2:28.456 2.998
7 14 Felipe Guimaraes / BRA Double R Racing 8 2:28.901 3.443
8 3 Lucas Auer / AUT kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 8 2:29.082 3.624
9 27 Felix Rosenqvist / SWE kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 8 2:29.215 3.757
10 8 Michele Beretta / ITA Eurointernational 8 2:29.447 3.989
11 18 Tatiana Calderón / COL Jo Zeller Racing 7 2:29.466 4.008
12 15 Jules Szymkowiak / NED Van Amersfoort Racing 8 2:29.754 4.296
13 1 Nicholas Latifi / CAN Prema Powerteam 7 2:29.932 4.474
14 22 Hector Hurst / GBR Team West-TecF3 8 2:30.342 4.884
15 5 Jordan King / GBR Carlin 9 2:30.517 5.059
16 29 Santino Ferrucci / USA Eurointernational 8 2:30.709 5.251
17 11 Richard Goddard / AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport 8 2:31.030 5.572
18 4 Roy Nissany / ISR kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport 8 2:31.206 5.748
19 19 Antonio Giovinazzi / ITA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 8 2:31.494 6.036
20 20 Sean Gelael / INA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 8 2:31.751 6.293
21 17 Sandro Zeller / SUI Jo Zeller Racing 8 2:32.005 6.547
22 28 Jake Dennis / GBR Carlin 9 2:32.333 6.875
23 31 Tom Blomqvist / GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 7 2:32.699 7.241
NOT CLASSIFIED
- 25 Antonio Fuoco / ITA Prema Powerteam 2
- 9 Mitchell Gilbert / AUS Fortec Motorsports 1

 

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