Red Bull Junior Carlos Sainz jnr. (ESP, VW-Dallara) leader of the British F3 title race, showcased his great potential from the beginning in the European Championship as well.
The young man from Madrid, the reigning Formula Renault NEC champion took over the overall series lead at the second race weekend of the British F3 championship with two race wins in Monza.
He was able to confirm his top form in his first appearance in the 2012 FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Hockenheim – in spite of a stubborn flu in the days before.
As the youngest driver in the field Sainz jnr. set the fastest time in every free practice session at Hockenheim on Friday and then took both pole positions during qualifying in the afternoon – for Races 1 and 3 on the Grand Prix circuit in Baden-Württemberg.
Carlos: “This really was a very good qualifying, especially as far as the timing was concerned. I concentrated on the final minutes of the session, and it worked out. For the race I’m still cautious, after all there are several unknown factors …”
Conditions on the opening race day of the FIA F3 Euro Series at Hockenheim were ideal this morning – in early summer-like weather. 25 laps or 40 minutes were to be run in the morning.
After the start Sainz initially dropped back to 2nd behind Felix Rosenqvist (SWE). But even before the first chicane the pole sitter moved back into the lead. Rosenqvist fought back before the Motodrom, however, leading the field onto the second lap.
Then, on the third lap, Daniel Juncadella (ESP) also went past Sainz. From there the race calmed down up at the front – for the time being the positions remained unchanged.
Juncadella then attacked leader Rosenqvist, and eventually the Spaniard went past. Sainz followed his fellow countryman and overtook Rosenqvist before the chicane.
A dual Spanish leadership after twelve laps. Juncadella led at the halfway point with an advantage of two seconds over Carlos who was able to keep pace with the old hand. Rosenqvist and the other pursuers had dropped back.
Sainz set one fastest lap after the other at the midway point of the race and slowly closed in on Juncadella. But Juncadella fought back and his lead then constantly remained at about 2 seconds – 10 laps before the end of the race.
The fastest laps of the race by the two Spaniards were separated by just 3 hundredths of a second.
Daniel Juncadella, 3rd overall in last year’s F3 Euro Series, celebrated the first win of the season, ahead of the rookie in the field – Carlos Sainz jnr., who emphasised his ambition to win in his very 1st race. Felix Rosenqvist finished in 3rd place.
At the finish the two Spaniards had an advantage of just under 16 seconds over their pursuers.
Sainz: “With our race setups Daniel and I basically were equally fast, only minor details separated us. But I can be very satisfied with my first Euro Series race. I was still able to attack towards the end of the race as well. But after all I’m still lacking vital experience in this series – but in general I’m a very fast learner!”
Timetable – Hockenheim 2012, FIA European F3 Championship.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
4.45 to 5.05 p.m. – Race 2
Sunday, 29 April 2012
11.15 to 11.55 a.m. – Race 3