Rosenqvist faultless, Juncadella retires
The FIA European Formula 3 Championship has begun its final weekend at the Formula One track of Hockenheim.
On Saturday morning, Felix Rosenqvist (Mucke Motorsport) showed a spotless run from start to finish, as points leader Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) seemed to secure the title with a second place. However, motorsport underlined its dynamic character once again; it is never over until the flag drops. Just three laps before the finish Juncadella suffered from engine problems and retired in the penultimate lap, leaving track without points or early title.
Rosenqvist continued the fast pace he found in Valencia, the previous round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship held three weeks ago. Next to the best times in all sessions so far, the young Swede earned pole with a qualifying time of 1:34.062, four tenth of a second faster than his competition. In the world of formula racing that is a remarkable difference.
Right at the start, Rosenqvist was the quickest and built on a stretch towards Daniel Juncadella. Not too convincing though, as Juncadella placed his car next to the leader in the race at the entrance of the Motodrom. The Mucke Motorsport driver defended and with the title in sight, Juncadella decided not to push to the limit, receding and following Rosenqvists speed. Motodrom always proofs to be a tricky part of the Hockenheimring, leaving this race as another example. Bernstorff (ma-con Motorsport) collided with Sainz (Carlin), after which the latter had to survive with a punctured tyre. He was just able to find his way to pit lane, but finished the first race of the last weekend there.
On the move
In front, Rosenqvist built on a steady gap towards the others in competition. Juncadella followed with the knowledge that a second place would be enough to be crowned as champion in this race. More interesting was the battle for the sixth place between Emil Bernstorff and Sven Muller for 6th place, until race control decided to award Bernstorff with a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Carlos Sainz in the first lap.
Race and championship look decided
After 18 laps, the order in the top five did not change opposed to the starting order. All drivers were constantly improving their own fastest lap, but not aiming to threaten it with a failed attempt to overtake. Another example of why motorsport is never predictable, because Juncadella significantly lost pace with just three laps to go. It seemed like just a moment in first instance, but it soon turned out to be a serious technical problem. Juncadella fell back to 8th in the course of just one lap, then another four to number 12 during the following, finishing the penultimate one in pit lane. After 40 minutes racing, there was an impeccable result for Rosenqvist, accompanied by Wehrlein and Marciello on the podium.
Jump for Rosenqvist
His strong performance put Felix Rosenqvist in the third position in the current championship standings at cost of Carlos Sainz. As Rosenqvist, Wehrlein and Sainz are all in between four points of one another, the last race in the championship will decide who fills the last of the top three positions in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
The second and last race of the FIA European Formula 3 championship is scheduled for the 21st of October at 11.15 and can be followed at http://www.f3euroseries.com/livestream/
Results Race 1:
1. Felix Rosenqvist* in 25 laps, 39:45.135, 2. Pascal Wehrlein* +5.658, 3. Raffaele Marciello* + 8.551, 4. Tom Blomqvist* +11.174, 5. Sven Muller* +11.938, 6. William Buller* +24.386, 7. Lucas Auer +27.672, 8. Lucas Wolf* +33.938, 9. Michael Lewis* +34.690, 10. Luis Derani +39.717
All drivers marked with * are registered for the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
Standings in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship:
1. Juncadella with 240 points, 2. Marciello 224.5, 3. Rosenqvist 167, 4. Wehrlein 163, 5. Sainz 161, 6. Buller 137, 7. Blomqvist 111, 8. Muller 101, 9. Lewis 100, 10. Bernstorff 64, 11. Wolf 19, 12. Roda 8, 13. Sa Silva 7