Nico Hülkenberg fastest in qualifying once more For the fourth time this season already, Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix, 1:32.087 min) set the fastest lap time in qualifying of the Formula 3 Euro Series. At the 4.307 kilometers long circuit through the dunes of Zandvoort, the 20-year old test driver of the Williams Formula 1 team outpaced rookie Mika Mäki (Mücke Motorsport, 1:32.167 min) from Finland by 0.080 seconds. The second grid row for the ninth season round of the Formula 3 Euro Series on Saturday will be occupied by 18-year old Frenchman Jules Bianchi (ART Grand Prix, 1:32.225 min) and Brit Sam Bird (Manor Motorsport, 1:32,372 min), his senior by three years, For both drivers, it was their best qualifying result of the season.
Behind the best four junior drivers, Jean-Karl Vernay (Signature-Plus, 1:32.512 min) qualified fifth. For the 20-year old Frenchman, qualifying was over with one minute to go when he landed in the gravel trap after a driving error. He still ranked fifth ahead of Japanese Koudai Tsukakoshi (Manor Motorsport, 1:32.539 min). Edoardo Mortara (Signature-Plus, 1:32.862 min), who came to Zandvoort as the points leader in the Formula 3 Euro Series, 15 points clear of Nico Hülkenberg, was only 15th.
Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix): “It was not easy, because I had expected more grip on the track. I think that a lot of sand was blown onto the track because of the wind and that it was slippery as a result. With my first set of tires, the balance of my car wasn’t that good, but with the second set, we managed to adapt the set-up to the track conditions in a better way.”
Mika Mäki (Mücke Motorsport): “At the start of the session, I didn’t have a very good feeling. Only on my last few laps with my first set of tires, it got better. After my fastest lap, I didn’t have the feeling that it was very good. I was all the more surprised when I saw the time.”
Jules Bianchi (ART Grand Prix): My car was fantastic. I set the fastest time in the first and in the second sector, but unfortunately, not on the same lap. Therefore, I am not on pole position. Still, I am happy, because I have never been better in qualifying than today.”
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