A triple premiere for Albon at the Norisring
Season race: 17 and 18 of 33
Pole position race 2: Alexander Albon (Signature)
Pole position race 3: Alexander Albon (Signature)
Weather: sunny and warm
Lotus Formula 1 junior driver Alexander Albon (Signature) dominated second qualifying of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the 2.300 kilometres long Norisring. For the junior driver from Thailand, who is racing at the Norisring in Nuremberg for the first time, it is a premiere: never before did he claim a pole position in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Moreover, he became the first driver from Thailand to do so. Behind Albon, George Russell (Carlin), Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing), Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam), Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Dorian Boccolacci (Signature) followed in qualifying for the 17th race of the season. The 18th race of the season will have Albon, Russell, Giovinazzi, Dennis, Leclerc and Boccolacci at the front of the grid in that order.
Because of the large number of competitors in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the only 2.300 kilometres short track, qualifying was held in two groups. The outright fastest driver from the two qualifying groups will be allowed to start from pole position while the fastest driver of the other group will start from second place. The other drivers then line up behind the first-placed of their respective groups in the order of their positions in qualifying, so that the group of the fastest driver will be on the right side of the starting grid and the other group will be on the left side.
Starting grid race 2
Group B opened the action and had several drivers alternating in the lead. Sam MacLeod (Motopark, 0:48.919 minutes), Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 0:48.518 minutes) and Jake Dennis (0:48.372 minutes) all took turns in the lead, before George Russell (0:48.353 minutes) joined the party with seven minutes remaining. In the closing stages, Dennis toppled the British rookie, but the latter countered successfully and claimed back first place. Dennis ended up second from Dorian Boccolacci (0:48.384 minutes), Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 0:48.491 minutes), Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam, 0:48.515 minutes) and Maximilian Günther.
After a five minutes’ break, qualifying for Group A got underway. Charles Leclerc (0:48.295 minutes), who had already been fastest in first qualifying in the early afternoon, again showed up in first place halfway through the session. After that, however, Antonio Giovinazzi (0:48.302 minutes) and Alexander Albon (0:48.099 minutes) set faster lap times. Leclerc then managed to beat Giovinazzi’s time, but Albon remained beyond reach for him. Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 0:48.353 minutes), Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 0:48.412 minutes) and Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam, 0:48.424 minutes) rounded out the top six in the group.
Because Albon’s fastest time was faster than the time set by his rival Russell, the Signature driver will be starting from pole position for the 17th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season.
Starting grid race 3
According to the regulations, the second-fastest lap time of each driver in second qualifying is used to determine the starting grid positions for the first race. Here, the two groups again were combined in such a way that one group will be on the right and the other group on the left side of the starting grid. Alexander Albon (0:48.227 minutes) claimed pole position from George Russell (0:48.408 minutes), Antonio Giovinazzi (0:48.305 minutes), Jake Dennis (0:48.493 minutes), Charles Leclerc (0:48.336 minutes), Dorian Boccolacci (0:48.521 minutes), Santino Ferrucci (0:48.368 minutes), Brandon Maïsano (0:48.536 minutes), Felix Rosenqvist (0:48.478 minutes) and Maximilian Günther (0:48.543 minutes).
Alexander Albon (Signature): “It was a fantastic qualifying and I am also happy for my team that we were able to claim both pole positions. After first qualifying, we already knew that we are quick, but I just didn’t get it right. The car was not the problem, it performs very well this weekend. Since the start of the season, we have steadily been improving and now we are able to challenge for positions up front. That is a great feeling.