Norisring European F3: Max Verstappen wins scrappy race two
|By Marcus Simmons||Sunday, June 29th 2014, 10:34 GMT|
Max Verstappen was on top in yet another dramatic round of the Formula 3 European Championship, which this time featured three safety cars and one red flag due to mid-race rain.
The race started on a track that was dry on the racing line but wet otherwise, and Verstappen led the first half under light drizzle.
His Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen had a reasonable advantage over Tom Blomqvist and championship leader Esteban Ocon when the safety car was called for a second time, and while the field circulated slowly the worsening rain meant the call was taken for red flags, enabling everyone to fit wet-weather Hankook tyres.
When racing resumed, Ocon looked down the inside of Blomqvist into Turn 1. Blomqvist gave him racing room but as they exited the corner Ocon's right-rear wheel hit his left-front, forcing him into the wall.
One lap later Jordan King, who had risen from seventh in the early stages, went around the outside of Ocon at Turn 1 and, with the Lotus Junior struggling for traction on the inside line, the Briton surged his Carlin Dallara-VW past on exit.
At that point the safety car was called again to rescue Blomqvist's stricken car and, when racing resumed, Ocon was called in for a drive-through penalty as retribution for the collision.
Eight laps of racing remained, and the supreme Verstappen pulled out a second per lap on King, who in turn was under no threat from Lucas Auer's Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes.
Both King and Auer had been involved in a hectic early scrap that featured their team-mates, Jake Dennis and Felix Rosenqvist respectively.
It was Dennis who emerged in fourth place from the revelation of the race, Santino Ferrucci, who moved his EuroInternational Dallara-Merc into fifth when Rosenqvist ran wide at the last corner and then pressured Dennis in the closing stages - Ferrucci is in just his second European F3 race weekend.
Ferrari protege Antonio Fuoco made good progress in the wet to climb his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Merc to seventh ahead of team-mate Nicholas Latifi, while the Carlin car of Antonio Giovinazzi and Van Amersfoort Racing's Gustavo Menezes completed the points.
The first safety car was caused by the traditional first-lap, first-corner shunt, which eliminated Felipe Guimaraes and Spike Goddard, and inflicted damage to the cars of Michele Beretta, Jules Szymkowiak and Alexander Toril.
The second was called due to an incident as the drizzle worsened, Roy Nissany getting caught out on the damp inside line into Turn 1 and harpooning Mucke stablemate Tatiana Calderon into the barriers.
There was another potentially big incident when Felix Serralles and Sean Gelael collided while running wheel-to-wheel through the flat-out back-straight kink in their battle for 10th.
Serralles spun but recovered to 11th, while Gelael was forced to serve a drive-through for the incident - he was subsequently brought in for rain tyres but the plan was scuppered by the subsequent race stoppage.
Results - 32 laps Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 45m44.818s 2. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW +8.827s 3. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Mercedes +15.436s 4. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW +16.804s 5. Santino Ferrucci EuroInternational Dallara-Merc +18.057s 6. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes +19.037s 7. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Mercedes +20.247s 8. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Mercedes +22.608s 9. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW +24.952s 10. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW +26.845s 11. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara Mercedes +27.291s 12. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Mercedes +29.275s 13. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +31.523s 14. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Mercedes +35.245s 15. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara Mercedes +37.318s 16. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes +42.089s 17. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW -1 lap 18. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE -1 lap 19. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Mercedes -2 laps 20. Mitch Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Mercedes -2 laps Retirements: Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 21 laps Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara-Merc 19 laps Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 15 laps Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1 lap Spike Goddard Double R Dallara-Mercedes 0 laps Felipe Guimares Double R Dallara-Mercedes 0 laps