AS YOUNGEST EVER POLE POSITION HOLDERIN BRITISH FORMULA 3
At just 17 years 26 days Max set the record during qualifying at Monza in Italy. He went on to lead the race initially in very tricky conditions, before the slipstreaming nature of the circuit helped his pursuers to catch and pass him. He held on to finish in 4th place at the flag.
Max was disappointed not to have converted the pole position into his first race win in F3, but it was a better outcome than in Saturday’s first race when he was knocked out of the race at the first corner.
The championship’s annual trip to the Italian Grand Prix venue at Monza, the fastest circuit on the calendar, saw Max in impressive form. He was fastest in Friday morning’s practice session and went on to qualify on the front row for the first race before establishing the new record by taking pole position for the second race.
His start in the first race was good and all seemed fine as he turned into the first corner, but behind him there was contact between two cars, launching one of them into the back of Max and spinning him round. He was then hit by another car which broke the front suspension and forced his retirement.
The second race would again have Max starting on the front row, this time from pole position and he made a fantastic start to lead comfortably going through the first corner, well clear of any possible trouble behind him. The conditions were very tricky for all the drivers as a light shower of rain at the start turned into heavier rain over the first few laps. Max looked comfortable at the front of the field and built up an advantage which initially was large enough to prevent anyone getting a tow up the fast Monza straights.
Max led for the first 9 laps, but as the rain stopped and the circuit dried, his advantage was being reduced. The pack behind had managed to use the advantage of slipstreaming to reel the youngster in and on lap 10 Max was caught and passed by two of his pursuers. He held 3rd place for a couple more laps but it was clear he didn’t have the straight line speed to be able to hold on for much longer. Eventually he was passed again and had to settle for 4th place at the finish.
He had hoped to set another record as the youngest ever race winner, but that will have to wait for another day. Slightly disappointed, Max reflected on his performance;
“I really wanted to win that, it was a great opportunity. I think we were running a little more wing than some of the others and whilst that probably helped me early in the race when the conditions were slippery, it wasn’t so good when the track dried. I did my best to hang on at the front, but the others were a lot quicker down the long straights. Obviously I would have been happier with at least a podium, but after yesterday’s bad luck with being knocked off, I guess this is a good result.”
With six of the twenty two races in this year’s championship having taken place, Max has finished on the podium, taken his first pole position and led an F3 race for the first time. That all important first win can only be getting closer. Hopefully for Max it will come at the next rounds which are to be held at Rockingham this coming Bank Holiday Monday, the 25th May.