- Max Verstappen wins his first race in the Formula 3 European Championship
- Six races, five winners: the F3 European Championship couldn’t be more even
- Tom Blomqvist best-placed Volkswagen driver after six of 33 races
“From zero to hero” – Max Verstappen (NL) gifted Volkswagen their second victory of the season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The son of former Formula 1 racing driver Jos Verstappen celebrated a convincing start-finish victory in the third and final race, after two disappointing races earlier on at the Hockenheimring. In the first race the talented youngster retired after a collision on the first lap. In race two Verstappen was left standing on the grid in the formation lap due to a problem with the electrical system. This was particularly hard to swallow since the Dutchman would have started from pole position. However, his luck turned in the third race on Sunday afternoon and the 16-year-old celebrated a commanding start-finish victory.
It was the first victory for Verstappen from Team Van Amersfoort Racing in his debut season in Formula racing, and the biggest success of his career to date. At the first race weekend in Silverstone, Tom Blomqvist (GB), son of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist, celebrated victory with the 225 hp Formula 3 engine from Wolfsburg in the rear of his car.
Despite retiring in the first round of the third race at Hockenheim, Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) defended his status as the best-placed “powered by Volkswagen” driver in the Formula 3 European Championship with 67 championship points. The Brit finished fifth in the first two races and is now third in the overall standings, with the same number of points as second-placed Antonio Fuoco (I). His team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi (I) did even better, finishing second in the opening race of the weekend and fifth in the third race. Also on the winners’ podium for Volkswagen at Hockenheim: Carlin drivers Edward Jones (UAE) and Jordan King (GB).
Just like at the season opener at Silverstone, a different driver won each of the three races at the Hockenheimring. Esteban Ocon (F), the only driver so far this season to have made it to the top step of the podium twice, leads the very even and sporting but fiercely competitive championship (103 points). Race results such as those in the second race at Hockenheim, which saw the first eleven drivers finish within ten seconds of each other, are not uncommon and show just how high the bar is set in the race series.
Quotes, Formula 3 European Championship in Hockenheim
Max Verstappen (NL), Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara-Volkswagen #30
“I am delighted that I was able to celebrate my first racing victory at my second race weekend in the Formula 3 European Championship. I wasn’t exactly lucky in the first two races, but this made me focus all the more on the third race. Everything went according to plan in the final race. I didn’t have any problems defending my lead – not even straight after the safety car phase. It feels great to have won so early on in my first season in Formula racing. I always try to win every race I take part in. That’s why I won’t be celebrating too much today. I’m already thinking about the upcoming race weekend in Pau.”
Edward Jones (UAE), Carlin, Dallara-Volkswagen #6
“Up until the third race, my weekend was almost perfect. We have made a lot of progress and finishing third in the second race showed that the second place on Saturday was not just luck. That’s what makes it all the more frustrating that I finished the weekend with 16th place in race three. I was on older tyres than most of the others, which is why I accidentally slipped off the track a couple of times. I received a drive-through penalty, which ruined my race. It’s even more frustrating when you look at how well we did in the two earlier races. But I know that we’ll give it our all again in Pau.”