Joel returned to the sharp end of the timesheets in second qualifying at the FIA F3 European Championship round in Hungary, sealing second and first place respectively on the grids for Sunday’s two races as he turned the page on Friday’s frustrations.
Having languished to 17th place amid tyre pressure dramas in opening qualifying yesterday, Joel bounced back in style in Qualifying 2, playing a central role in a four-way scrap over pole position that also involved Callum Ilott, Lando Norris and Guan Yu Zhou.
Ilott eventually took outright honours as he lapped the Hungaroring in 1m34.890s, 0.167s ahead of Joel as the duo locked out the front row of the grid for Race 2.
On the list charting each driver’s second-best lap time, however, Joel turned the tables on Ilott to snatch pole for Race 3 – albeit by the tiniest of tiny margins. Ilott wound up just 0.003 of a second adrift, with Norris and Zhou just another 0.002s and 0.007s down…
Championship leader Maximilian Günther qualified in sixth place for both of Sunday’s races, clearing a potential road for Joel to make significant inroads in the title chase.
Next session: Race 2, 11.05 local time (GMT+02:00) tomorrow.
“I’m really, really pleased that we managed to respond like this after yesterday. It was very important and we had to get ourselves up there for tomorrow’s races to make sure we don’t give away any further points. When it’s this close, you’re in the hands of luck to have those final fractions on your side, and today, thankfully, they were on mine! It will be tough, but with two good starts we should be able to fight for 50 points tomorrow.”
RESULTS – Qualifying 2
Outright times (grid for Race 2)
Second-fastest times (grid for Race 3)