Occasionally in life, the quiet moments ring through the most special. When one spends so much flirting between an office in London and gravel filled stadiums of speed, find silence can be difficult.
But this was nice.
Pinned for an extra few hours to the town Hockenheim on Sunday evening due to a nationwide train strike across Germany would normally break my patience.
Yet while wandering the town, where most places had shut up for the evening – or in some cases had not opened that day – I came across a little ice cream shop offering relief.
A sweet portion of vanilla and nut flavour dessert followed by a coffee was enough to slow my temperament and head for the evening and cool my nerves.
Small towns breathe and exist in a way that cities never could; the slower nature becoming an easy remedy for the frantic noise that spill from cities. Sitting and looking out the window as life passes by can be dangerous in some situations, but also a wonderful cure in others.
Tom Blomqvist was the big winner of a subdued final weekend of the 2014 FIA European F3 Championship.
The 20-year-old ended his stint in the European Championship by securing 2nd in the title race ahead of future star Max Verstappen.
While the 17-year-old Max struck with a win in Race One, the Dutch teen’s efforts were hampered in Friday evening’s second qualifying session, dropping him to the lower reaches of the top ten for the final two races.
Blomqvist on the other hand took two poles and with a win in the second race, the job was almost done. There was still the matter of the finale and while Blomqvist fell behind Lucas Auer and Jordan King, Verstappen was nowhere near close enough to apply pressure.
It never felt like it mattered. Already crowned as champion, Esteban Ocon and his Prema Powerteam compatriots rarely featured, while Verstappen’s assured future in Formula One means his final position in the standings is irrelevant.
Blomqvist may have won the battle against Verstappen, but the “Son of Stig” has no set plans for 2015 and precious little money with which to bargain with, Blomqvist may find himself on the outside looking in, despite his successes.
Lucas Auer claimed his third FIA European Formula 3 victory of the season at the Hockenheimring this morning.
The Austrian took the lead on the opening lap after a wheel-to-wheel battle with Tom Blomqvist that lasted from turn one through to the Mercedes corner three-quarters of a lap later.
The race was briefly halted by a safety car period when an overambitious Tatiana Calderon collided with Felix Serralles and Jules Szymkowiak at the hairpin on lap one.
From the lap four restart, Auer pulled a 1.3s gap over Blomqvist and never looked threatened thereafter.
By the halfway mark, the Mücke man had now drawn a two second advantage over Blomqvist; however with the 2nd place man coming under increasing pressure from Jordan King, Auer relaxed into a solid pace, bringing his Mercedes-powered machine home to a welcome victory, ending what has been a frustrating season.
It proved a satisfying victory for Auer who once again suffered minor gearbox issues during the race, causing him to occasionally lose time in the middle sector of the lap.
King eventually took 2nd place from Blomqvist three laps from the end when the Briton spotted a gap inside his Anglo-Kiwi teammate at the hairpin. Caught slightly unawares, Blomqvist failed to close the door, until King has forced his way down the inside, pushing Blomqvist down a position as a result.
King had also driven a brilliant opening lap. Starting 5th, the Englishman pipped Antonio Giovinazzi into turn two, before making a decisive move on Felix Rosenqvist into Mercedes, just prior to the launch of the safety car.
Although Blomqvist was disappointed to have lost the place to King, the Jagonya Ayam Carlin man had still done enough to solidify 2nd in the championship ahead of Max Verstappen.
Rosenqvist enjoyed a tough battle with Giovinazzi to claim 4th place for Mücke. The Swede held his Italian rival at bay for much of the race, with Giovinazzi spending large portions of the contest close to Rosenqvist’s rear wing, but was rarely close enough to force a change of position.
Giovinazzi did a have a go on lap 13, but on the one occasion that he needed to defend hard, Rosenqvist managed Giovinazzi to keep the Jagonya Ayam Carlin man behind.
Verstappen, meanwhile, had another relatively quiet race in his van Amersfoort machine. From 7th on the grid, Verstappen took Esteban Ocon off the line, only for the Frenchman to retake Verstappen when the latter ran wide at the final corner come the restart after the safety car.
Verstappen did look somewhat racey for a time – in his chase, the van Amersfoort man dived down the inside of Ocon at the hairpin on lap seven, as he tyre smoked his way into the corner; however Ocon immediately overlapped Verstappen, as the 17-year-old slid well wide.
Thereafter Verstappen trailed the Rosenqvist / Giovinazzi / Ocon trio, but the Dutch teen passed Ocon again spectacularly at the entrance to Mercedes, when he sneaked down the inside of Ocon, briefly locking wheels with his target before passing.
Ocon followed Verstappen hope, but this weekend the series champion and Prema Powerteam man rarely threatened the front and in this instance did nt look like breaking back into the top six.
In the distance Sean Gelael finished 8th in his Jagonya Ayam Carlin entry, several seconds clear of Carlin stablemate Ed Jones (9th).
Dennis van de Laar rounded out the points when he passed Jake Dennis on the final lap. Dennis had until then driven brilliantly to climb from last to 10th by the seventh tour, only to lose it when a mistake in sector one dropped him behind van de Laar.
Beyond that, the race was run one lap shorter than scheduled when Gustavo Menezes’ smoking van Amersfoort machine caused the first start to be aborted. The American would then get a drive through penalty when he retook his position on the grid, when he was supposed to start from the pitlane.
There was the usual fun and games at the back when Alexander Toril was hit by Roy Nissany on lap 15, before Nissany had a separate off of his own moments later.
Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Tom Blomqvist took his sixth victory of the FIA European F3 season in a slightly shortened race at the Hockenheimring today.
The 20-year-old led every lap of the race at the German circuit, followed by teammate Antonio Giovinazzi and Lucas Auer.
The race was red flagged on the final lap when Antonio Fuoco clattered Jake Dennis from behind in the Mercedes corner in what can be best described an ambitious move by the Italian teenager.
Blomqvist made the win look easy. While the Carlin man escaped from the grid, Auer edged Giovinazzi for 2nd into turn one; however having taken one Carlin driver, the Austrian had no answer for Blomqvist’s pace.
After five laps, Blomqvist had already built a lead of just under two seconds; however a brief safety car to clear debris from Michele Beretta’s damaged EuroInternational car neutralised preceding’s for a time.
Once restarted, Blomqvist simply pulled away again and had built a gap of four seconds when the race was halted. On countback, Blomqvist held a 3.9s gap to Giovinazzi, with Auer 1.38s further in arrears.
As Blomqvist’s rival for 2nd in the championship, Max Verstappen, could do no better than 5th place in the race, Blomqvist enters into tomorrow’s finale with a two-point advantage.
Giovinazzi’s runner-up finish solidified 6th in the championship standings for the Italian. The 20-year-old had settled into 3rd place when Auer’s Mücke machine locked into third gear on the approach into the hairpin four laps from the end.
The resultant lock sent Auer into the tarmac run off area and while he escaped, he could do nothing to stop Giovinazzi reclaiming 2nd place. The issue topped off another frustrating day for Auer, who had suffered a similar transmission problem on several occasions during the weekend.
Series champion Esteban Ocon came home 4th following a reasonably quiet race for Prema Powerteam. The French teenager took Felix Rosenqvist for 5th at the start and then passed Jordan King on the third lap, but could progress no further than that.
Unusually, Max Verstappen drove a mostly subdued race to 5th. Having started 9th, the Dutch teen grabbed two places off the line, only to be brilliantly repassed by Tatiana Calderon in the Mercedes section on the 2nd tour.
It was not for long though. Within two laps, Verstappen had taken Calderon again, before passing King, who had suffered a damaged front wing while battling with Ocon just prior to the safety car. Thereafter, Verstappen settled into something of a lonely 5th place, where he neither threatened nor was threatened.
Rosenqvist finished 6th having also passed Calderon on lap four. The Swede briefly challenged Verstappen for the top five following the safety car routine, but never truly looked like making a move.
Roy Nissany drove a solid race to take 7th. The Israelite made several places at the start and passed Calderon on lap five, while Calderon stayed close to the Mücke man to assume 8th.
Gustavo Menezes ended the day in 9th, ahead of Dennis van de Laar who rose to 10th place to score the final point.
Spike Goddard drove an ‘interesting’ race. The Australian used the rear of Beretta’s car as a break in the Stadium section on lap four, which eventually brought out the safety car and on lap eleven, he suffered a lazy spin in the stadium ensuring a finish near the back.
Sean Gelael rammed the rear of Fuoco on the opening lap, pitching the latter in a spin. The Italian had risen to 13th – which included a fabulous brief tussle with Santino Ferrucci – when he collided clumsily with Dennis. Ed Jones, meanwhile, received a penalty for a jump-start, while Stefano Coletti picked up a drive through penalty for repeatedly breaching track limits. The Monegasque racer pulled into the pits simply to retire.
Max Verstappen won the opening FIA European Formula 3 race of the season’s final round at Hockenheim.
In what amounted to a stale race, dominated from the front by the Dutch racer, Verstappen made it look easy at a circuit where overtaking can often be difficult.
Verstappen led from the line, with a sluggish Lucas Auer (Mücke Motorsport) in tow, while Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam Carlin) slotted into 3rd place.
Auer did press Verstappen hard initially, only for the van Amersfoort man to extend his lead significantly following the opening half-dozen tours. Thereafter, Verstappen was rarely under any kind of threat as he drew further away from Auer to win by 3.78s after 22 laps.
Behind Verstappen, Auer too drove a safe race to the runner-up spot. Although the Austrian spent a touch too long in a low gear at the start, Auer had enough of an advantage to keep Blomqvist behind through the opening bends, before building a sizeable gap to the Jagonya Ayam Carlin man.
Blomqvist filled out the podium places, although he was not always alone, as he led teammate Antonio Giovinazzi and Mücke’s Felix Rosenqvist home.
Indeed Rosenqvist did battle with Giovinazzi for a portion of the race, only for him to drop back slightly, as he managed intentions of 6th place Jordan King (Carlin).
King took the top six place after he passed Prema Powerteam’s Esteban Ocon on the ninth lap, with a decisive divebomb down the inside of the hairpin. It has been a subdued weekend for the entire Prema Powerteam squad, who appear to running on empty this weekend – their other charges Antonio Fuoco and Dennis van de Laar could do no better than 14th and 17th respectively.
Gustavo Menezes brought home four valuable points for his van Amersfoort team. The American finished 3.52s ahead of Felix Serralles (Team West-Tec), who wheelbanged his way past Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam Carlin) on the lap ten.
Jake Dennis did what he could from last place (24th). A great start ensured the Briton was as high as 17th by the end of lap on, before he took Jules Szymkowiak and Nick Cassidy to finish 15th at the flag.
Michele Beretta spun himself into the barriers on lap eight, while Andy Chang and Stefano Coletti were retirements in the pits on laps 13 and 16.
I have always believed that there can be a point when one becomes so wealthy, their worth ceases to be money.
Rather than wealth that can be measured by context, the super rich merely possess numbers on a screen – albeit lots of zeroes…
When one is worth billions of Dollars, Euro, Pound Sterling or otherwise, is one’s money even real anymore?
If nothing else, the power to turn heads persists, as the Stroll family displayed in Imola last weekend. Present to celebrate Lance Stroll’s victory in the FIA Italian F4 Championship, the Stroll’s attended the season finalé, despite the teenage Lance’s inability to race due to a rib injury.
While that is no surprise, what was quite eye-opening was the size of Stroll’s private motorhome at the back of the paddock. Easily coming to approximately half the size of a current Formula One motorhome for its European season, the Stroll motorhome represented an excess that even had seasoned F3 people turning their heads.
At a rumoured cost of just over €4m, a few HGV’s delivered the unit, which took staff some three days to construct. Such is the enormity of the motorhome, it measure almost twice the size as many of the F3 trucks and awnings in the FIA F3 paddock. It really was quite an incredible sight for a driver who, let’s not forget, is only emerging from Formula 4.
Whether the Stroll’s will be able to cart the motorhome into the somewhat busier DTM paddocks next year when Lance is in F3 is unknown for now.
But it would be fun to see them try to bring that monster machine to Pau…
Earlier this week, Formula Renault 3.5 driver Cameron Twynham contacted me regarding Sunday’s post about the new GP2 Series champion, Jolyon Palmer.
As part of the operating policy of TheMotorsportArchive.com, this website is open to a ‘reply or comment’ from those involved in motorsport.
Cameron Twynham (Formula Renault 3.5; Comtec Racing)
“[Jolyon Palmer] needs to get an opportunity [to drive in Formula One] in my opinion.
Junior championships including GP2 are for learning; some people learn fast, others take more time, but the end result is often better if you learn the correct way rather than accelerated or skipping steps.
His experience in GP2 is not just about winning, he has learnt how to qualify, how to race from the back, the middle and the front of a very aggressive grid and get to the end of the races with maximum points, not easy in GP2!
He has shown incredible pace this season plus amazing overtaking skills, and in a car as he says, is very similar to F1 speeds.
Not that F1 teams are listening to me but I really hope he gets there.”
My thanks to Cameron for submitting his thoughts.
It was suitably quiet – well, almost. One can not always capture these moments at just the right time, but at least the rustling of the leaves amidst the Autumnal trees could still be held to ear.
Occasionally a car would pass – at speed, of course. This is Imola after all and the youth of the FIA Italian Formula 4 Championship are getting their precious practice runs in. Some of them certainly need it more than others.
It feels strange to think that now almost the entire Italian F4 field was born after Ayrton Senna died following a crash at the infamous Tamburello corner at Imola on May 1st, 1994.
Many of these young drivers idolise the late Senna to some degree or other, having heard so many tales, watched the ‘Senna’ film and, or viewed numerous clips of his high speed exploits on YouTube.
Others still grew to love this sport during the dominant Schumacher years, but soon another generation will emerge who were born after Michael Schumacher’s original run ended. That final Ferrari drive at Interlagos, after all, occurred nearly eight ago already.
It also feels a touch strange that one should idolise a driver whose time passed before one had been born, but to criticise such a thing would merely make me a hypocrite.
As a fan of the great Jim Clark fan, I would know about that – the double World Champion Scot was killed some thirteen years before I was born, but this weekend, I will return to the Hockenheimring and hopefully capture another memorial in some soft silence.
Meanwhile, I held this moment. Around me, a birthday was being celebrated by a party in the park and people ventured out to walk and talk amongst themselves, while other racing fans arrived to capture their moment too.
Only then did a fly decide it was the perfect time to fly directly up my right nostril, sending me into a spluttering fit as I repeatedly swatted myself across the face.
If nothing else, my furious reaction to the winged insect got laughs from the assembled children…