Felix came out on top of a thrilling three-way scrap with points’ leader Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen to bag pole position for the opening FIA Formula 3 European Championship race of the weekend at Norisring, heading an ultra-close qualifying session on the streets of Nuremberg on Friday evening.
As expected, the battle for pole boiled down to the dying seconds of qualifying as grip levels evolved throughout and drivers duly improved their benchmarks at a ferocious rate.
With 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Felix sat third behind Ocon and Verstappen, but then managed to pull “a near-perfect” lap out of the bag to snatch pole from Frenchman Ocon by an ungraspable three thousandths of a second on his very final attempt. In doing so, he ironically increased the pole position advantage he enjoyed at Norisring last year, when he out-paced then-title rival Raffaele Marciello by 0.001s.
Verstappen was a further 0.008s adrift in third, with the leading trio then enjoying a two-tenth gap to fourth-placed Tom Blomqvist.
25 out of the 26 drivers were covered by less than one second. The outcome marks Felix’s maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship pole of the season, although he has previously headed qualifying sessions in the FA1 series this year.
“That was close! Last year, I was on pole here by one thousandth of a second – this year, it’s by three; I certainly seem to have the margins on my side here in Nuremberg! At the beginning of the session, I tried to grab a tow from Max (Verstappen) down the straights, but it didn’t work out too well and I decided to abandon that plan and go on my own for the final stages. It was a very good lap, and it was just enough for pole. The middle sector in particular – the Schöller S – was as close to perfect as I’ll get.
“This was exactly the kind of result we needed following the problems we’ve had recently, and this is a major boost for the entire team. Now, we need to make sure we make the most of this in the race tomorrow. I expect Esteban and Max to be very strong, but I know one thing for certain; no one in this field wants to win as badly as I do right now…”
Grid for Race 1
|1||27||Felix Rosenqvist / SWE kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport||22||48.082|
|2||2||Esteban Ocon / FRA Prema Powerteam||21||48.085||00.003|
|3||30||Max Verstappen / NED Van Amersfoort Racing||21||48.093||00.008|
|4||31||Tom Blomqvist / GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||20||48.262||00.169|
|5||3||Lucas Auer / AUT kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport||21||48.321||00.059|
|6||4||Roy Nissany / ISR kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport||21||48.432||00.111|
|7||28||Jake Dennis / GBR Carlin||21||48.437||00.005|
|8||16||Gustavo Menezes / USA Van Amersfoort Racing||20||48.439||00.002|
|9||9||Mitchell Gilbert / AUS Fortec Motorsports||21||48.466||00.027|
|10||5||Jordan King / GBR Carlin||21||48.470||00.004|
|11||1||Nicholas Latifi / CAN Prema Powerteam||22||48.489||00.019|
|12||15||Jules Szymkowiak / NED Van Amersfoort Racing||21||48.495||00.006|
|13||19||Antonio Giovinazzi / ITA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||12||48.509||00.014|
|14||25||Antonio Fuoco / ITA Prema Powerteam||21||48.576||00.067|
|15||11||Richard Goddard / AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport||24||48.646||00.070|
|16||21||Félix Serrallés / USA Team West-TecF3||21||48.650||00.004|
|17||18||Tatiana Calderón / COL Jo Zeller Racing||21||48.704||00.054|
|18||20||Sean Gelael / INA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||20||48.797||00.093|
|19||26||Dennis van de Laar / NED Prema Powerteam||21||48.835||00.038|
|20||29||Santino Ferrucci / USA Eurointernational||21||48.838||00.003|
|21||8||Michele Beretta / ITA Eurointernational||21||48.858||00.020|
|22||14||Felipe Guimaraes / BRA Double R Racing||21||48.903||00.045|
|23||17||Sandro Zeller / SUI Jo Zeller Racing||19||48.955||00.052|
|24||12||Alexander Toril / ESP ThreeBond with T-Sport||24||48.979||00.024|
|25||10||John Bryant-Meisner / SWE Fortec Motorsports||21||49.051||00.072|
|26||22||Hector Hurst / GBR Team West-TecF3||21||49.342||00.291|