Comeback for Verstappen: First place in his third race after retiring from the firstBlomqvist consistent: one victory and third place in the Dallara-VolkswagenVerstappen defending second place in the driver rankings
After a break from racing of almost two months, the Volkswagen drivers made an impressive return during the current season's penultimate racing weekend. Tom Blomqvist (GB) and Max Verstappen (NL) celebrated victory in the second and third races in their Dallara-Volkswagen F312 at the former Formula One track in the Italian town of Imola. In addition, Blomqvist, Verstappen and Antonio Giovinazzi (I) made up a podium fully occupied by Volkswagen drivers in the second race. Verstappen, son of former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen, defended second place in the driver rankings with his appearance in Imola before the season finale in Hockenheim (D).
Following a collision with Antonio Fuoco (I, Prema Powerteam), Verstappen deviated from the track in the first run and couldn't complete the race. This retirement initially cost the seventeen year old racing talent from the Van Amersfoort Racing team, who secured himself a Formula One cockpit for 2015 as the youngest F1 driver ever, second place in the overall rankings. He was overtaken by Blomqvist from Team Jagonya Ayam with Carlin with second place behind Esteban Ocon (FR Prema Powerteam), who secured the victory.
In the second race, Verstappen came back with a strong performance and took second place. Only Blomqvist was ahead of him, achieving a flawless start-finish victory and passing the finish line 4.263 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Blomqvists team-mate Giovinazzi couldn't keep the pace during the last metres before the finish line and had to settle for third place. Despite this, Giovinazzi ensured that the podium was made up exclusively of Volkswagen drivers and another success "powered by Volkswagen".
In the third race, Verstappen was able to improve again. In a turbulent third race, which was shortened to 17 laps by a safety car period, the young Dutchman finally took his first victory of the racing weekend in Imola by relegating Fuoco and Ocon to second and third places. At the same time, Verstappen collected the necessary championship points for his victory in the third race to be able to reclaim second place from Blomqvist in the overall rankings. Ocon is occupying first place in the driver rankings with 454 points which makes him the 2014 European Champion already, followed by both Volkswagen drivers Verstappen (368) and Blomqvist (365) ahead of the season finale on October 17-19th at the Hockenheimring.
Quotes, FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Imola
Max Verstappen (NL), Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara Volkswagen #30“After the start I had lost one position, but I knew that my car is fast and that the race would be long. So I kept my cool and waited for my turn.”
Tom Blomqvist (GB), Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara Volkswagen #31“The second race was an awesome one for us. The car was great and it felt amazing to get the win. I can also be happy finishing the first race third. All in all it was a good weekend for us.”
Overall standings after 33 out of 36 races, FIA Formula 3 European Championship
1. Esteban Ocon, 454 points; 2. Max Verstappen, 368; 3. Tom Blomqvist, 365; 4. Lucas Auer, 305; 5. Antonio Fuoco, 255; 6. Antonio Giovinazzi, 198; 7. Jordan King, 190; 8. Jake Dennis, 172; 9. Felix Rosenqvist, 168; 10. Nicholas Lafiti, 128
FIA Formula 3 European ChampionshipImola – Result Race 101. Esteban Ocon (FR), Dallara-Mercedes 20 laps in 35m 57.565s02. Jordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +01.509s03. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +02.981s... 05. Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Dallara-Volkswagen +07.287s06. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +14.038s10.. Sean Gelæel (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen +23.766s13. Edward Jones (UAE), Dallara-Volkswagen +37.142sMax Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen DNFGustavo Menezes (USA), Dallara-Volkswagen DNFJules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen DNFImola – Result Race 201. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen 20 laps in 35m 13.491s02. Max Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen +04.263s03. Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Dallara-Volkswagen +04.282s... 06. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +13.624s10. Gustavo Menezes (USA), Dallara-Volkswagen +19.746s13. Edward Jones (UAE), Dallara-Volkswagen +26.250s.15. Jules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen +32.283s.16. Sean Gelæel (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen +32.689s19. Jordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +35.533sImola – Result Race 301. Max Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen 17 laps in 36m 15.097s.02. Antonio Fuoco, Dallara-Mercedes +02.100s.03. Esteban Ocon (FR), Dallara-Mercedes +03.066s.... 05. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +05.030s.07. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen+07.421s.10. Gustavo Menezes (USA), Dallara-Volkswagen+09.391s.11. Jordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen+10.135s.14. Jules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen+12.786s.Sean Gelael (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen
DNFEdward Jones (UAE), Dallara-Volkswagen DNFAntonio Giovinazzi(I), Dallara-Volkswagen DNF