After a challenging free practice session for Mücke Motorsport this morning (read full report here), changes made to the set-up of the car produced a dramatic improvement ahead of qualifying, and even though Pascal Wehrlein wound up ninth on the list, Felix found himself right in the mix for pole throughout the 30-minute session.
Felix immediately shot to the top of the screens with a 1m30.392s effort early on, and – much like at the Nürburgring last weekend – proved to be the only driver capable of challenging the Prema Powerteam quartet for first place. After a series of improvements towards the closing stages of the session, Felix’s lap - set very early on - was eventually good enough for third overall behind pole position first-timer Sven Müller and Raffaele Marciello, while championship leader Daniel Juncadella and American Michael Lewis completed what would have been a perfect day for the Italian outfit if Felix hadn’t spoiled the wash-out party.
The result means that Felix will start Sunday’s Race 3 from third place, while the list over second-fastest lap times - which is used to determine the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1 – saw Felix reach the front row with an effort just 0.029s shy of Müller (who again found himself on pole).
The session was red-flagged twice; first when Carlos Sainz Jr. crashed his Carlin car into the barriers at the Audi S, and the second time when Lucas Wolf ran into the wall at Hugenholtz with just seven minutes to go. Caught out by the debris at the scene of Wolf’s accident, Felix also made contact with the Zandvoort Armco just moments later and ended his session slightly prematurely at the side of the track. Fortunately for him, though, none of his rivals managed to improve once the final burst of action got underway.
Race 1 is set to start at 11.15 tomorrow, with weather forecasts predicting rain over the Zandvoort area.
QUOTE | FELIX
"That wasn't too bad, and we have to be happy with our performance considering how the car felt in free practice; the guys have done an absolutely brilliant job today. We went through all the data from this morning, and Jörn - my engineer - and the mechanics then managed to translate that into a much better package for this afternoon. Big thanks!
"I was able to carry a lot more speed into the corners now, and while Prema Powerteam still seems to have an edge considering the fact that all their drivers are up there in the list, I still think we have a decent shot at fighting for victory again this weekend. I made a bit of a silly mistake right at the end of the session as I came across the debris thrown onto the track after Wolf crashed, but luckily it didn't really matter. It's always frustrating to lose pole position by a few hundredths of a second, but I guess this season isn't exactly one where I have the fractions on my side! I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the weekend, though, and we will go flat out from here."