Nurburgring European F3: Red Bull ace Max Verstappen wins race one
|By Richard Asher||Saturday, August 16th 2014, 10:42 GMT|
Max Verstappen kicked off life as a Red Bull junior driver with a patient, measured European Formula 3 win in tricky conditions at the Nurburgring.
The van Amersfoort Racing man started on pole, but his run to victory was far from straightforward on a circuit that offered only a patchy dry line after yet more morning showers in the Eifel mountains.
Most of the field opted to start on slicks, but Spike Goddard, series debutant Andy Chang and Michele Beretta all took a chance on wets.
Given the frequent arrival of heavy rain this weekend, it wasn't the biggest risk in the world, especially given their starting positions at the back of the field, with T-Sport driver Goddard the highest-placed of the trio on the grid in 20th.
Wets were the thing to have in the beginning, especially with light rain making a brief return after a couple of laps.
Goddard made particularly swift progress through the field after Ferrari Formula 1 team protege Antonio Fuoco had made the best of a flying start from fifth place (on the dry side of the grid) to take the lead by Turn 2.
By the time Goddard caught the leaders on lap five of 25, Fuoco was a second clear of Verstappen, only to drop to third after a brief off.
Goddard then passed Verstappen on lap seven to lead the race.
At this point conditions brightened, and there would be no further rain for the rest of the race so Goddard's tyres were on borrowed time. Verstappen needed a couple of tries to reclaim the lead, but just after half-distance he was in front and there to stay.
From there the top three remained close but static, with Prema driver Fuoco and Carlin's Antonio Giovinazzi filling the podium.
Championship leader Esteban Ocon lost some of his advantage by finishing only sixth, keeping Verstappen's hopes of a late bid for the title alive as the gap came down from 94 points to 77.
Results - 25 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 35m35.010s 2. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Merc +3.275s 3. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW +3.789s 4. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW +6.650s 5. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW +11.650s 6. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Merc +18.918s 7. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Merc +22.352s 8. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc +24.972s 9. Santino Ferrucci Eurointernational Dallara-Merc +33.207s 10. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW +33.767s 11. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Merc +34.738s 12. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Merc +41.642s 13. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Merc +47.883s 14. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW +48.247s 15. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc +57.942s 16. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW +58.751s 17. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW +1m17.741s 18. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE +1m25.439s 19. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE +1m31.922s 20. Andy Chang West-Tec Dallara-Merc -1 lap 21. Michele Beretta Eurointernational Dallara-Merc -1 lap 22. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc -1 lap Retirements: Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 0 laps Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 0 laps