Joel is set to start the final two races of the FIA F3 European Championship season from sixth and fifth respectively, following a tricky second qualifying session this evening at Hockenheim.
Several teams and drivers appeared to be caught out by a change in grip levels between the two grid-deciding sessions, which (atypically) take place on the same day this weekend.
It meant anticipated set-up directions ultimately proved wide of the mark, producing a somewhat uncharacteristic outcome.
After battling for pole in Qualifying 1, Joel felt the new conditions affected the handling of his Team Motopark car and was unable to stage a similar charge in Q2.
As it was, he wound up sixth on the overall timesheets, which were headed by a trio of Prema Powerteam drivers as the Italian squad came to the fore.
With Callum Ilott, Maximilian Günther and Guan Yu Zhou comfortably out front, Joel joined fourth-placed Jake Hughes (Hitech) and fifth-placed Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) as “best of the rest”, simultaneously leading the way among the Volkswagen-engined entries.
Also out of order on the Race 2 grid will be championship leader Lando Norris, who reported a similar fate to Joel and will line up seventh.
On second-fastest times, used to shape the Race 3 grid, Joel was fifth, with Günther taking pole ahead of Ilott, Zhou and Hughes.
Next session: Race 1, 10.50 local time (GMT+02:00) on Saturday.
“We went in the wrong direction for this session, unfortunately, and I think several others did the same. We normally don’t have both qualifying sessions on the same day, and I think we misjudged the effect of the DTM rubber laid down before Q2. It meant we set up the car wrong and suffered from poor balance. A shame, but not a disaster.
“Driving-wise, I have to say that I’m actually really pleased with my performance. I did a series of very consistent laps within a matter of hundredths, so I firmly believe I got everything out of what we had this evening. It’s just sad that it wasn’t enough for P1. Prema seem to have pretty much nailed it, which makes things a little more difficult for me in terms of the championship, but I will never give up!”
RESULTS – Qualifying 2
Outright times (grid for Race 2)
Second-fastest times (grid for Race 3)