FIA Formula 3 European Championship | Round 1
Venue: Autodromo Nazionale Monza (Italy) | Date: 22 March 2013 | Weather: Warm and sunny
By Mattias Persson
Felix sent a message of intent to his rivals by going fastest in the first official session of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, as he topped the timesheets in Friday free practice at Monza.
Under bright skies and in the best weather conditions seen so far this week, Felix immediately got down to business as the new season got underway to head the impressive 30-car field with a time of 1m45.243s around the legendary Italian circuit.
Felix's closest challengers were Prema Powerteam duo Raffaele Marciello - a home favourite this weekend - and Britain's Alex Lynn, while DTM-bound Mücke Motorsport team-mate Pascal Wehrlein wound up seventh. The other two Mücke Motorsport cars, driven by Mitch Gilbert and Roy Nissany, were 19th and 23rd respectively.
With a full 13 drivers ending up within half a second of Felix's benchmark - and 19 within a second - the stage is definitely set for a thrilling afternoon of qualifying, where slipstreaming along the extensive Monza straights are likely to prove vital.
Qualifying 1 has been moved forward from its original slot at 15.15, and will now instead take place at 13.45.
QUOTE | FELIX
"A good way to start the season. It's always difficult to tell where you are in pre-season testing because people are running so many variations in fuel loads etc., but we felt quite confident going into this weekend. We never went for outright lap time in any of the pre-season tests, so it's obviously nice to be heading the timesheets in an official session and get some confirmation of our true performance.
"The car feels good and the time seems to be OK, but it's very, very close; and the outcome of qualifying this afternoon can look very different. It will be vital to get a good tow down the straights, but on pure pace we seem to be there or thereabouts, and I think the team has done a great job in improving the car since the test here on Tuesday. Let's hope for a similar result in a couple of hours!"
Results (top five)
View full results
|Dennis van de Laar
||Van Amersfoort Racing-Volkswagen
||ma con Motorsport-Volkswagen