Esteban Ocon secures first place on the grid in Styria
Season round: 22 of 33
Track: Red Bull Ring
Pole position race 1: Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam)
At the 4.326 kilometres long Red Bull Ring, rookie driver Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) claimed his twelfth pole position in the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season with a lap time of 1:24.856 minutes. The 17-year-old Frenchman, who is supported by the Lotus Formula 1 team, completed his fastest lap of the undulating circuit in Styria 0.150 seconds faster than his main championship rival, Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:25.006 minutes). Tom Bomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:25.045 minutes) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:25.206 minutes) were classified third and fourth in first qualifying.
Qualifying remained thrilling until the final second: initially, Max Verstappen seemed to have secured pole postion, but just before the end, Tom Blomqvist and then also Esteban Ocon came to the fore. Ed Jones from the United Arab Emirates was also among the top four for a while. Eventually, the Carlin driver only ended up tenth-fastest, but he was still happy about a successful comeback after an absence of several weeks due to injury.
Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam, 1:25.353 minutes), backed by the Ferrari Driver Academy, and British driver Jake Dennis (Carlin, 1:25.367 minutes) were classified fifth and sixth. Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:25.454 minutes), the only Austrian in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship field, ended up eighth from Swede Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:25.473 minutes).
Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “I am very happy with this pole position. Qualifying was by no means easy, because almost every driver managed to improve lap after lap. Therefore, it was important to get the best lap at the end, which I managed to do. Now, we have to try to keep our margin in the points’ standings and a pole position certainly helps in doing so.”