Max Verstappen on top after second day of testing at Imola

Although Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:36.553 minutes) has already signed his Formula 1 contract and also has taken part in his first free practice session in the category, he keeps on pushing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. On the second day of the official mid-season-test at the 4.909 kilometres long circuit of Imola, he came out on top. Jake Dennis (Carlin, 1:36.836 minutes) followed behind the Dutchman while Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:37.049 minutes) was classified third at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari ahead of his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:37.055 minutes).

With his fourth place, Giovinazzi was the fastest of the three Italian drivers competing in this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship. “We have tested and sorted out many things. I am quite happy with the progress we have made on these two days and I am now looking forward to the race weekend,” he commented afterwards. Giovinazzi ranked just ahead of Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam, 1:37.071 minutes), the second Italian in the ranking. Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:37.108 minutes) followed in sixth place and also drew a positive verdict: “It was important and also necessary to have these two days of testing after the long summer break. Now, we are all back in the right rhythm for this weekend, when we are racing for points. My team-mates and I had a good speed, our car was running well and we are ready for the three races at this circuit.”

Nick Cassidy (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 1:37.116 minutes), Jordan King (Carlin, 1:37.144 minutes), Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:37.162 minutes) and Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:37.273 minutes) rounded out the top ten.“ This track really is great fun to drive,” Rosenqvist said. “But on a really fast lap, you are also on the verge of crashing all the time. Getting close to the limit, but not over it is a huge challenge.” The Swede was happy with his test day: “I think that we made the car faster.”

Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3, 1:37.341 minutes) was classified eleventh. “I reckon that we have the speed to finish on the podium,” the young driver from Puerto Rico said. “During the season so far, my car has never been this good. In the summer break and with this test, we have made a step forward and we are working into the right direction.” Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam, 1:37.342 minutes) had to make do with twelfth place, but the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader remained totally unfazed: “We just concentrated on completing our test programme and we didn’t go for any fast lap times. We will leave that for the weekend, when we are competing for points and positions again,” the 18-year-old Lotus Formula 1 junior driver said calmly.