As expected, the 30-minute race instantly saw the leading trio of drivers break away from the rest of the field, as Felix set off chasing front row starters Mirko Bortolotti (Team Italy) and Nigel Melker (Team Netherlands).
Halfway through the race, the trio were separated by just under five seconds, with leader Bortolotti the first to show his hand and head for his compulsory pit stop.
Two laps later, Felix and Melker joined each other into the pits, Felix running two seconds behind his Dutch rival. While Melker got away cleanly, Felix had to see any chance of a podium – let alone a late charge for victory – evaporate as a problematic left-front tyre change delayed him by 30 seconds and demoted him to fifth.
He would eventually fight back to take the chequered flag in fourth, proving to be the fastest man on track in the closing stages and taking 1.5 seconds per lap out of third-placed Sebastian Balthasar. There wasn’t enough time to catch the Team Germany racer, however, leaving Sweden out of the podium celebrations.
“It’s obviously disappointing to lose out on the podium when we had the pace to potentially fight for victory, but we’re all here mainly to see and learn and I don’t think it actually matters that much. The team did what they could and these things happen sometimes. I learned a lot today – it was the first race I’ve ever done in this kind of car – and I’m happy to see that I could take care of the tyres and set competitive lap times all through the race. We’ll try to do a better job tomorrow.”
- Frenetic pole scrap in Portugal – top three on the same tenth
- Felix to start inaugural FA1 race from row two
- Felix tops first-ever official FA1 practice session
- Video: a tour of Team Sweden
- Felix: Portimão circuit “great fun”
- Video: Team Sweden pit stop practice
- How to follow the FA1 opener