Today, on Friday, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship teams and drivers met for their first official day of testing in the 2014 season. At the 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring, located not far from Hungary’s capital Budapest, Dutchman Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:36.505 minutes), who advanced to the European Championship straight from karting, set the fastest lap time of the day, with Jordan King (Carlin, 1:36.604 minutes) finishing second on the time sheets. Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:36.661 minutes) and Jake Dennis (Carlin, 1:36,676 minutes) finished third and fourth respectively.
At Budapest’s Formula 1 circuit, both the experienced drivers and the rookies proved to be in good shape. Particularly Max Verstappen in his Volkswagen powered single-seater succeeded in impressing. After all, the son of the former Dutch Formula 1 driver Jos ‘The Boss’ Verstappen outpaced all the other 27 drivers involved in the tests. “It’s my first season in car racing and currently, I still am working on familiarising myself with everything,” revealed Verstappen. “I didn’t expect to be the quickest but felt really comfortable in the car right from the start.”
The two positions behind Verstappen were secured by two experienced F3 drivers, Jordan King and Antonio Giovinazzi, but the next rookie followed right behind them, in fourth position: Jake Dennis. “I had expected to make it to the top 10,” he said. “But now I even succeeded in outpacing experienced drivers such as Felix Rosenqvist. That’s an achievement I’m really happy about.” Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:36.728 minutes) however, last year’s Vice-Champion and the best Mercedes driver in the first official day of testing, was happy with having finished fifth. “We tested a lot and learned a lot,” he explained. “And in addition, I didn’t find a free lap on a fresh set of tyres.”
The top 10 were completed by rookie Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam, 1:36.737 minutes), Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:36.805 minutes), Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:36.820 minutes), Riccardo Agostini (Eurointernational, 1:36.936 minutes) and rookie Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:36.945 minutes). The gap between Max Verstappen in first position and his team-mate Jules Szymkowiak in tenth amounted to less than half a second and even the 16th-placed driver was less than a second slower than the Dutchman. With these lap times set on their first day of testing, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship young-guns already proved to be quicker than the DTM aces who tested at the Hungaroring from Monday to yesterday.
FIA F3 European Championship Press release