F3 Paul Ricard: Double joy for Maximilian Günther

Maximilian Günther © DR

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) came out on top in second qualifying at the 3.841 kilometres long Circuit Paul Ricard and thus claimed pole position for the second race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. The German was 0.102 seconds faster than Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam), who, in turn, managed to keep Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) at bay.

In the ranking of the second-fastest laps, used to determine the starting grid positions for the third race of the weekend, Günther came out on top from Cassidy, Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Jensen.

Starting grid race 2
Contrarily to first qualifying earlier in the afternoon, in which the battle for pole position was decided in the closing stages, Maximilian Günther (1:20.881 minutes) moved up into first place with eight minutes remaining already. As none of his rivals managed to improve sufficiently, the Prema driver remained on top until the end of the session.

Behind Günther, Nick Cassidy (1:20.983 minutes) followed in second place from Mikkel Jensen (1:21.035 minutes) and the best-placed rookie driver, Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam, 1:21.164 minutes). In the duel of the best novices in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Estonian only just ended up ahead of Joel Eriksson (Motopark, 1:21.167 minutes). The fastest lap times of the two rookie drivers in second qualifying were only 0.003 seconds apart. Callum Ilott (1:21.117 minutes), rookie driver Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP, 1:21.207 minutes), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam, 1:21.251 minutes) and rookie drivers Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:21.436 minutes) and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:21.603 minutes) rounded out the top ten.

Starting grid race 3
Maximilian Günther (1:20.895 minutes) also came out on top in the ranking of the second-fastest laps. Nick Cassidy (1:21.104 minutes), Callum Ilott (1:21.193 minutes) and Mikkel Jensen (1:21.236 minutes) also still ended up ahead of Ralf Aron (1:21.293 minutes), who again emerged as the fastest rookie. Ben Barnicoat (1:21.304 minutes), Lance Stroll (1:21.400 minutes), Joel Eriksson (1:21.436 minutes), Anthoine Hubert (1:21.662 minutes) and Harrison Newey (1:21.710 minutes) were classified in seventh to tenth place.

British driver George Russell (HitechGP), who had initially come second in both rankings, was excluded as the remaining amount of fuel in his car after second qualifying didn’t meet the required minimum. According to the regulations, at least one kilogram of fuel has to be available at any given time during the session. Russell had all his times disallowed, but he will still be allowed to start the second and third race at Le Castellet from the back of the grid.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “I am very happy with my qualifying performance and I have to thank my team for giving me such a great car. This time, the track was entirely dry and thus, it was easier than in first qualifying earlier in the afternoon. I managed to bag two good laps that got me on top in both classifications. Admittedly, I will be starting from pole position in both races, but I haven’t won anything yet, because points are only given after the races. Nevertheless, of course, I am happy with my first two FIA Formula 3 European Championship pole positions.