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F3 Tests: 3 rookies on top


The second day of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship pre-season tests at Valencia represented an additional challenge for the 34 drivers involved in the action. In the morning session, rain was falling and the tests at the 4.005-kilometre Circuit Ricardo Tormo had to be contested in wet conditions. In the end, nobody was able to out-pace the rookies Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:29.534 minutes), George Russell (Carlin, 1:30.016) and Callum Ilott (Carlin, 1:30.588 minutes). Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:30.645 minutes) was the fastest of the experienced drivers and finished fourth on the time sheets.

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Despite having finished behind the three newcomers, Menezes was happy: “I can’t complain about today,” the US-American said in the evening. “In the closing stages, I did without going out on a fresh set of tyres. In addition, I was hampered by traffic but with up to 34 cars on the track, many others arguably will have had the same problem. Compared to last year, I feel a major improvement and think that I’m on the right track. And we have not yet made full use of our potential.”

Alexander Albon (Signature, 1:30.838 minutes) also was generally happy – but this didn’t apply to his performance on the wet track of the morning session. “But the afternoon was fine,” said the Lotus Formula 1 Junior who finished fifth on the time sheets, thus confirming the good performance he had delivered on day one. Behind the rookie from Thailand, Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:31.064 minutes), Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:31.099) and Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:31.205) finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. “In the closing stages, when the track was at its best, I unfortunately made a small mistake,” admitted Giovinazzi. “I was the quickest on day one and sixth on the second day of testing. I really can live with these achievements and will travel to the season kick-off at Silverstone with boosted confidence.” The top 10 were completed by Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:31.320 minutes) and Fabian Schiller (Team West-Tec F3, 1:31.654).

For Schiller, the morning session in wet conditions represented the highlight of the two days of testing as he finished third behind Leclerc and Ilott. Matthew Solomon (Double R Racing), George Russell and Alessio Lorandi (Van Amersfoort Racing) also proved to be quick in the wet, thus securing top-six positions in the morning session. Markus Pommer (Motopark) was the fastest driver with Formula 3 experience under his belt and finished seventh, on the time sheets of the morning session. “We were slightly late out there on the track and so, we hadn’t the chance of making optimum use of the best conditions. Nonetheless, I’m rather happy with our performance in wet conditions,” Pommer revealed

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