Joel returned to the top of the FIA F3 European Championship timesheets in emphatic fashion in the second qualifying session of the Red Bull Ring weekend, sealing a set of double pole positions for Sunday’s two races.
Leading the way on both outright and second-fastest times, Joel put all of his recent qualifying woes firmly to rest, beating McLaren F1 junior and current championship leader Lando Norris to first place.
Joel looked set to snatch Race 2 pole by a significant margin as qualifying drew to a close, sitting two tenths clear of Norris before the Briton improved on his very last lap, coming within 0.003s of Joel’s benchmark – which remained unbeaten throughout, however.
Third fastest on the outright times was Nikita Mazepin, a quarter of a second down on Joel and Norris.
On the list charting second-quickest laps, used to shape the Race 3 grid, Joel emerged a tenth clear of Norris with Race 1 winner Callum Ilott third fastest.
Maximilian Günther, whom Joel and Ilott are fighting for second place in the drivers’ standings, qualified ninth and sixth respectively.
In topping today’s session, Joel breaks a recent British stranglehold on F3 qualifying, with the previous ten poles having been shared by Britons Norris, Ilott and Jake Hughes. Joel has now claimed five pole positions in the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship.
Next session: Race 2, 11.00 local time (GMT+02:00) on Sunday.
“This has been a great day – absolutely thrilled with this. The car was near-perfect in this session, and we managed to get the set-up exactly where I wanted it to dial out some understeer in the final sector. It was very close in the end, but I’m excited to be back on pole. This gives us the best possible opportunity tomorrow and I’ll be doing everything in my power to win both races.”
RESULTS – Qualifying 2
Outright times (grid for Race 2)
Second-fastest times (grid for Race 3)