On the back of his qualifying performance of yesterday, Felix started the race from the front row of the grid alongside pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello, but made a blistering getaway to grab the lead on the run to Turn 1.
Felix then increased the gap over Marciello at a rapid pace, running away from the pack until being hit by the first of his penalties for having parked his car incorrectly on the grid ahead of the start. After touring the pitlane slowly and seeing any chance of victory slip away as the others carried on at full speed on the circuit, Felix rejoined in last place and immediately set about reeling in the tail-enders of the field.
He quickly shot past the likes of Sandro Zeller and Luis Sa Silva, and soon found himself in eighth place with half the race still to go. A collision with Andrea Roda in the battle for seventh, however, again saw the stewards incur a penalty on the Mücke Motorsport driver, who fell back to 13th with no chance of progressing over the last ten minutes.
Throughout the race, Felix was constantly among - if not the - fastest on track once in clear air, adding further frustration at losing out on a possible victory. Marciello went on to win the 40-minute event.
The outcome has negative repercussions for Felix’s chances of reaching a strong result in Race 2 this afternoon, with the reverse-grid regulations only swooping the top eight finishers. Felix will duly start the race from 13th place on a circuit that is notoriously difficult to overtake at, but can still look forward to another front row slot in tomorrow’s concluding Race 3.
COMMENT | FELIX
"A massive disappointment, but there's nothing we can do about it. I parked the car ahead of where I was supposed to, and that was a mistake. I then made a good start, grabbed the lead and felt extremely comfortable in the car, and I think I could have kept building a gap over Daniel (Juncadella) and Raffaele. It wasn't to be, however, and as for the incident with Roda, I saw a gap and went for it. He closed the door, but I was also a bit optimistic and I think it was a racing incident. All we can do is to forget about this and try to make the most of the rest of the weekend."