Max Verstappen unbeatable in second qualifying at Imola
The 17-year-old came out on top both in the ranking of the fastest and of the second-fastest laps.
After Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) didn’t make it to the finish in the 28th season race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, he showed his class in the second qualifying a few hours later. The 17-year-old came out on top both in the ranking of the fastest and of the second-fastest laps.
Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) were in second to fourth place in the classification of the fastest lap times. In the result list of the second-fastest laps, Verstappen, who completed his first free practice in Formula 1 last week, was followed by Ocon, Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) and Blomqvist.
Starting grid race 2
After the first few minutes of the second qualifying, Swede Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:37.971 minutes) was still in front, but the stalwart didn’t manage to hold on to his position for a long time. Instead, it was Max Verstappen (1:36.816 minutes) who toppled him, only to be outpaced by Esteban Ocon (1:37.155 minutes) himself. The 18-year-old Frenchman didn’t stay in first place for a long time either as Verstappen improved his lap time once more.
I really like the Imola circuit. Driving skills mean a lot here. Finding the limit is difficult here, which is a great challenge for us as the drivers.
Soon after that, Tom Blomqvist (1:37.125 minutes) also was faster than the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader and moved up into second place behind Verstappen, the youngest-ever Formula 1 driver.
With approximately 6:30 minutes remaining, Edward Jones (Carlin, 1:37.886 minutes) lost control of his car and crashed into the tyre stacks. The driver from the United Arab Emirates was transferred to the medical centre for a check-up, but he was found to have escaped unscathed. As darkness was setting in, qualifying didn’t resume.
Thus, Verstappen remained on top from Blomqvist, Ocon, Giovinazzi (1:37.196 minutes), Fuoco (1:37.221 minutes) and returnee William Buller (Signature, 1:37.312 minutes). As Verstappen still has to serve a ten-place grid penalty following an engine change from the previous meeting at the Nürburgring, he will start from eleventh place on the grid while Tom Blomqvist will be on pole position.
Starting grid race 3
Max Verstappen (1:37.106 minutes) also set the best second-fastest lap time. Esteban Ocon (1:37.303 minutes), Antonio Fuoco (1:37.326 minutes), Tom Blomqvist (1:37.456 minutes), Willam Buller (1:37.497 minutes) and Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam, 1:37.540 minutes) rounded out the top six.
Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing): “I am really happy that I was fastest again in second qualifying. The two test days on Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the race weekend really went well for us, but in first qualifying, things weren’t really going as we had planned. In the first race this morning, we had a good speed again and so we did in second qualifying. I really like the Imola circuit. Driving skills mean a lot here. Finding the limit is difficult here, which is a great challenge for us as the drivers.”
Esteban Ocon takes lights-to-flag win, Max Verstappen retires
Blomqvist wins from Verstappen – battle for title remains open