Joel has qualified on the second row of the grid for the first FIA F3 European Championship race of the season, going fourth fastest in opening qualifying at Silverstone.
Following a pre-season period of close testing times, the competitiveness of the 2017 F3 field was confirmed on Thursday evening as the teams finally showed their true colours in the first grid-deciding session of the year, with 18 drivers covered by less than one second around the 5.9 km lap.
Joel was a constant feature towards the top of the timesheets throughout qualifying, eventually ending up just two tenths adrift of pole position – which landed in the hands of British local hero and McLaren F1 junior Lando Norris – to get his campaign off to a strong and solid start.
Starting ahead of Joel in tomorrow’s first race of the season will be Carlin racer Norris, as well as experienced Prema Powerteam duo Callum Ilott and Maximilian Günther – both entering their third season of F3 competition.
Joel comfortably led the Team Motopark charge, with team-mates Marino Sato and Keyvan Andres Soori propping up the final two positions in 18th and 19th.
Race 1 will be staged tomorrow afternoon, with a second qualifying session due to take place beforehand to set the grids for races two and three.
“A good start to the weekend, and a clear improvement from practice. We did have a bit more in hand in practice to be honest, and I did expect to move forward in qualifying, but you never know until you’ve done it and I’m actually pleased to be within reach of pole. This is a difficult track and I think the guys who have been here before do have a slight advantage. I’m still learning the quickest way through some of the corners, and I think that’s the deficit we had to P1 today. I was driving better at the end of the session, but the tyres were past their best by then and so I couldn’t improve. Still, this is a good start to the season and we’ll try to put up a fight tomorrow.”
Next session: Qualifying 2, 13.30 local time (GMT+01:00) tomorrow
RESULTS – Qualifying 1
FOLLOW THE ACTION
TV / live stream
FIA F3 European Championship races are broadcast throughout a wide network of TV stations. Click here to find out where to watch in your part of the world. All races are also transmitted LIVE at www.fiaf3europe.com/live, with Eurosport airing a highlights package in the days following each round.
Live timing for each session of the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship is available at www.fiaf3europe.com/live.
WHERE IT HAPPENS
Lap length: 5.901 km
Silverstone FIA F3 EC data
Lap record: 1m51.498s (C.Leclerc, ’15)
Latest event: 2015
Most recent winners (2015):