Mücke Motorsport received early indications of an up-turn in form in Friday free practice for round two of the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Hockenheim, with Felix and team-mate Lucas Auer both ending up near the top of the timesheets to hint of a marked improvement over the Silverstone curtain-raiser.
Two weeks on from the struggles suffered in the UK, a range of mechanical set-up changes immediately seemed to have paid off in Germany, as Felix completed the first 40 minutes of practice fourth overall, two tenths adrift of pace-setter Antonio Giovinazzi (Carlin).
The times would tumble further in the subsequent segment of the session, with Giovinazzi again ending up in P1 on a 1m33.135s. Felix, meanwhile, wound up sixth, having looked set for the top three until he ran into traffic in the shape of Fortec’s Mitch Gilbert in the final corner of his fastest lap.
Auer ended the session second fastest, two tenths shy of Giovinazzi to lend further optimism to the Mücke Motorsport resurgence.
After Thursday preparations at the German venue were hit by rain, threats of further precipitation forecast for practice never materialised, although the skies remain dark over Hockenheim as the attention shifts towards qualifying later this evening.
“A good start to this weekend, and a positive session for the entire team. It might just be free practice, but we do seem to have taken some necessary steps forwards coming here. The car still isn’t perfect – we’ve got some brake balance issues to overcome, and grip levels can always improve – but all-in-all, we’ve got reason to be optimistic. Furthermore, I got blocked in the final sector on my fastest lap, so the potential seems to be there. We now have to keep on working and set ourselves up for qualifying this evening; that’s when we will truly find out just how big a step we’ve taken since Silverstone.”
RESULTS (top ten)
1: Antonio Giovinazzi, 1m33.135s
2: Lucas Auer, 1m33.337s
3: Max Verstappen, 1m33.352s
4: Esteban Ocon, 1m33.510s
5: Tom Blomqvist, 1m33.599s
6: Felix Rosenqvist, 1m33.654s
7: Antonio Fuoco, 1m33.686s
8: Nicholas Latifi, 1m33.728s
9: Jordan King, 1m33.747s
10: Ed Jones, 1m33.752s