It is cool out, although nowhere near close to cold; just defiantly cool. It’s not even particularly fresh, but rather clammy – the faintly drab feel that comes with dour spring evenings.
Only this is not a spring evening, but ten minutes after two on a grey, drab and sterile Friday afternoon in south-west Germany.
That is not to say Hockenheim is not nice, it actually is – I’ve just seen it nicer on occasion, but on DTM practice day where the crowds have yet to congregate in their might, the Hockenheimring can feel a touch empty.
Then again, this is merely practice day. The twenty-nine Formula 3 drivers at the Baden-Württemberg circuit are far more concerned with dialling themselves into their cars and the conditions, than they are about putting on a show.
Some – Tom Blomqvist and Felix Rosenqvist for example – are ragged; throwing their Dallara F312’s hard into the stadium section – hard, fast and forceful.
On the other hand, there is someone like Raffaele Marciello, in this instance, who is visibly kinder, more willing to let his Prema Powerteam machine do the legwork. Reflecting upon this, the Italian commented, “Today we had a lot of grip at the start and so I was able to go faster and it was easier to make no mistake. When it is that smooth, I can go faster, because it all worked well.”
Marciello is a guide in his element and while his natural aggression still comes to the fore occasionally – as noted by a few wobbly entries – he appears, for the most part, to be at ease with his situation and that is something that should worry his rivals. Almost predictably, Marciello topped both free practice sessions…
Daniil Kvyat impressed during the 85 minutes. After only a brief test at Pembrey earlier in the week, the Russian stepped into the unfamiliar F3 machine and instantly began to show pace – and confidence. “It was really good. I was disadvantaged with the tyres, but I really enjoyed it so much – it’s an amazing car,” noted the reigning Formula Renault Alps champion.
Kvyat added, “It’s different – compared to the GP3 car, it has much less power, but in the corners it is much more stable and quicker, so it is a very good car for a driver. I managed to quite fast straight away – hopefully that will keep going.”
Stepping up to the plate in practice was Carlin rookie Jordan King, who at last appears to be delivering far more consistent laps, with melded sector times.
At Fortec, Felix Serralles is hoping for a better weekend. After a tough start to the season, the Puerto Rican believes that British squad are finally getting a handle on the somewhat unfamiliar Hankook rubber.
While the 20-year-old took 4th and 6th respectively in both sessions, his afternoon had something of a hic-cough when he lost part of his nosecone against the rear of a rival…
It will be a touch different this evening, when the cars take to the track for qualifying at 6pm.
2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship (Rd 3, Free Practice 1) Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Raffaele Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.082s 2. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m34.298s + 0.216s 3. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.352s + 0.270s 4. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m34.587s + 0.505s 5. Lucas Auer Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.678s + 0.596s 6. Alex Lynn Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.700s + 0.618s 7. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.834s + 0.752s 8. Tom Blomqvist Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m34.845s + 0.763s 9. Will Buller T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 1m34.966s + 0.884s 10. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 1m34.972s + 0.890s 11. Eddie Cheever Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.977s + 0.895s 12. Sven Muller Ma-con Dallara-VW 1m35.067s + 0.985s 13. Michael Lewis Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m35.157s + 1.075s 14. Daniil Kvyat Carlin Dallara-VW 1m35.177s + 1.095s 15. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m35.195s + 1.113s 16. Mitchell Gilbert Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m35.414s + 1.332s 17. Dennis van de Laar Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m35.468s + 1.386s 18. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 1m35.478s + 1.396s 19. Mans Grenhagen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m35.546s + 1.464s 20. Josh Hill Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m35.616s + 1.534s 21. Andre Rudersdorf Ma-con Dallara-VW 1m35.809s + 1.727s 22. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m35.895s + 1.813s 23. Ed Jones Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m35.898s + 1.816s 24. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m35.927s + 1.845s 25. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Merc 1m35.966s + 1.884s 26. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 1m36.756s + 2.674s 27. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 1m36.873s + 2.791s 28. Sandro Zeller Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m37.203s + 3.121s 29. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 1m37.349s + 3.267s 2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship (Rd 3, Free Practice 2) Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Raffaele Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 1m33.941s 2. Daniil Kvyat Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.019s + 0.078s 3. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.041s + 0.100s 4. Sven Muller Ma-con Dallara-VW 1m34.206s + 0.265s 5. Lucas Auer Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.212s + 0.271s 6. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m34.322s + 0.381s 7. Josh Hill Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m34.373s + 0.432s 8. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.494s + 0.553s 9. Alex Lynn Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.543s + 0.602s 10. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m34.543s + 0.602s 11. Mans Grenhagen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m34.625s + 0.684s 12. Michael Lewis Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m34.647s + 0.706s 13. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.675s + 0.734s 14. Tom Blomqvist Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m34.753s + 0.812s 15. Will Buller T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 1m34.798s + 0.857s 16. Dennis van de Laar Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m34.812s + 0.871s 17. Eddie Cheever Prema Dallara-Merc 1m34.833s + 0.892s 18. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m34.846s + 0.905s 19. Mitchell Gilbert Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m34.949s + 1.008s 20. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m35.192s + 1.251s 21. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m35.403s + 1.462s 22. Andre Rudersdorf Ma-con Dallara-VW 1m35.406s + 1.465s 23. Ed Jones Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m35.625s + 1.684s 24. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 1m35.829s + 1.888s 25. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Merc 1m35.855s + 1.914s 26. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 1m36.012s + 2.071s 27. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 1m36.213s + 2.272s 28. Sandro Zeller Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m36.256s + 2.315s 29. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 1m36.635s + 2.694s