Character testing opener for Chilton

In Saturday’s first qualifying session, Max took his third pole position in F3 with an absolutely stunning lap, eclipsing his rivals by almost three tenths of a second.

Elated on his return to the pits, Max expressed slight surprise at his pole winning performance;

“I honestly couldn’t say where the time came from. All my other laps I was up going into the Shell hairpin, a couple of tenths up, only to cross the line with low 28’s, then on this lap my dash showed I was three tenths up, but I didn’t expect it to stay that way at the finish. When it did I almost couldn’t believe it. Obviously I’m really happy with that lap.”

The second session didn’t bring a repeat performance though with Max ending up 5th fastest in the afternoon. It was very close though with 2nd to 5th places covered by just three tenths of a second.  Max explained that he was unable to get as good a balance with his Dallara Volkswagen as he had earlier on;

“I suffered a bit with understeer, it didn’t quite have the same balance as before. I think the track conditions had changed and I couldn’t carry the same speed into the corners.”

Sitting on pole position for the start of race one, Max was intent on getting away well, but unfortunately went too early. His mistake earned him a one minute penalty from the officials which effectively dropped him to the back of the field.

Max pressed on regardless for the first half of the race comfortably leading on the road until he was asked by the Carlin team to allow actual race leader and Carlin team mate Daniel Ricciardo through.

“I just got it wrong.” A hugely disappointed Max exclaimed after the race. “I knew I had to get a good start, but I went too early. The team initially told me I had a ten second penalty so I pushed to try and build a cushion. When they told me the penalty was actually a minute, there was no point in interfering with the battle for the lead behind me, I can see that, so the team asked me on the radio to let them past.”

Carlin team principal Trevor Carlin was bitterly disappointed for Max;

“I think Max was maybe suffering from a bit of first night nerves, but despite coming away without any points he demonstrated the brilliant pace he has in the car.”

Max made amends in the second of the day’s races with a blistering start off the line to take 4th place – a position he held comfortably all the way to the finish. The result was some consolation for the earlier mishap and Max reflected on his weekend with a slightly happier demeanor than earlier in the day

“Obviously I’m absolutely gutted with the start of the first race, but I managed to put it behind me for the second and got some good points so there is something to take away from this weekend. Actually, I suppose it was just those two seconds of a cock-up that has been unsatisfactory. Everything else has been pretty good really. I’ve been quick every session; I took pole position in the first qualifying session and got a 4th place. Also, I know I’ve got the pace to win races. So I guess there are some positive things to take as well.”

There could be quite a break now for Max and the other F3 drivers with Donington Park’s April 26th event seemingly about to be postponed. The next scheduled races are at Silverstone on 3rd May. There will be a day’s testing in the interval, but Max will have to wait three weeks for another opportunity to go for that first F3 win.

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