Red Bull Ring European F3: Lotus F1 junior Ocon wins four-way fight
|By Marcus Simmons||Friday, August 1st 2014, 16:48 GMT|
Lotus F1 junior Esteban Ocon emerged on Formula 3 European Championship pole position for race one at the Red Bull Ring.
The session was arguably the most thrilling of the season, with the verdict changing three times on the last lap.
Championship leader Ocon and his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes were part of a four-way battle with main title rival Max Verstappen's Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen and Carlin's pair of Jagonya Ayam proteges, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Verstappen, who was languishing in the lower reaches of the top 10 with a few minutes remaining, looked to have taken pole on the penultimate lap, only for Blomqvist to depose him and then for Ocon to somehow find two tenths to snatch the top spot away.
In turn, Verstappen snuck in a final flier that knocked Blomqvist's Dallara-VW off the front row, but fell 0.150 seconds short of Ocon.
Giovinazzi was on pole with a few minutes remaining, only to hit traffic when on a faster lap and then return to the pits to sit out the final two or three laps, dropping him to fourth.
His fellow Italian Antonio Fuoco took fifth in his Prema car, with the Carlin machine of Racing Steps-backed Brit Jake Dennis joining him on the third row.
Gustavo Menezes wriggled his way to the top of five drivers covered by less than four hundredths of a second, the American Van Amersfoort driver pipping the Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercs of Lucas Auer and Felix Rosenqvist (who won all three races here last year) for seventh.
Ed Jones, who was second earlier in the session, managed to narrowly nab the final top-10 spot from Jordan King, the duo making it five Carlin drivers in the top 11.
Follow all three European Formula 3 races from Austria as they happen with AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live this weekend
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Merc 1m24.856s 2. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m25.006s +0.150s 3. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m25.045s +0.189s 4. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m25.206s +0.350s 5. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Merc 1m25.353s +0.497s 6. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m25.367s +0.511s 7. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m25.450s +0.594s 8. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m25.454s +0.598s 9. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m25.473s +0.617s 10. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 1m25.474s +0.618s 11. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m25.489s +0.633s 12. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Merc 1m25.555s +0.699s 13. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Merc 1m25.769s +0.913s 14. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Merc 1m25.876s +1.020s 15. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m25.920s +1.064s 16. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m26.047s +1.191s 17. Santino Ferrucci Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m26.133s +1.277s 18. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m26.151s +1.295s 19. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m26.265s +1.409s 20. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m26.340s +1.484s 21. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m26.372s +1.516s 22. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara-Merc 1m26.544s +1.688s 23. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m26.549s +1.693s 24. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m26.683s +1.827s 25. Michele Beretta Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m26.839s +1.983s 26. Alfonso Celis Jr Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m27.116s +2.260s