PREMA Theodore Racing experienced a very positive day at Zandvoort, as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship lined-up on the Dutch seaside track near Amsterdam for round 4 of 2018. The team, entering the weekend as the leading force in the championship, performed well since practice and quickly showed good pace. What happened in Qualifying 1 then confirmed the great potential available, providing plenty of excitement. Chinese racer Guanyu Zhou posted a superb late flying lap to secure pole for race 1, topping three of his team-mates with the Prema banner monopolizing the two front rows of the grid. The Ferrari Driver Academy graduate later grabbed two valuable starting spots for race 2 and 3 with a 6th and 4th positions respectively.
Estonian Ralf Aron kept his name at the top end of the charts with P2 for race 1 and 2. Unfortunately, he was hampered by traffic and yellow flags while trying to set a good second-fastest lap, which resulted in a 16th place for race 3. Mick Schumacher and Marcus Armstrong followed the same fate. The German ended up third in qualifying 1 and then did it all again to set the third fastest lap overall in qualifying 2. His second-best lap saw him relegated to P17 for race 3. The New Zealander took fourth place in qualifying 1, while in the second session he scored the 5th place for race 2. He was forced to content with a 23rd place for race 3, suffering for a clutch issue that the team is currently investigating. Last but not least, Russian Robert Shwartzman took seventh place for race 1 before ending up 10th and 12th respectively in qualifying 2.
# 1 - Guanyu Zhou
“Obviously I’m super delighted for P1 in qualifying 1, my first pole position in Formula 3. The team did a super job from the beginning of the weekend. I just managed to put a mega lap together and secure pole, on a track where it’s really important to qualify well. Qualifying 2 was a bit of a mess. I did only one proper push lap with new tires. Then we got yellow flags, red flags, people going off, gravel on track... Luckily the second best wasn’t bad and got me P4 for race 3. We didn’t show our full potential, but it was mostly a matter of luck.”
# 4 - Mick Schumacher
“We showed really good pace since the early stages of the weekend. In qualifying 1, I scored third place and the team performed great as well, locking out of the two front rows. The speed was there in qualifying 2 too, and we got another third place for race 2. Unfortunately, with so many disruptions, it hasn’t been possible to use our full potential for setting a quick second-best lap, but we will try to maximize the results in the races.”
# 7 - Ralf Aron
“It wasn’t an easy day. In qualifying 1, I just missed out on pole and ended up in P2. Then in qualifying 2 I went out, set a decent lap that I could have improved, but then I was just slowed down by yellow flags and other people. It’s a bit unfortunate for race 3 because we potentially lost good points. In the end, though, it wasn’t predictable, we couldn’t have done anything differently. It was just a bit unfortunate but I’m good at starts and I’ll push as hard as I can.”
# 8 - Marcus Armstrong
"First day in the dry in Zandvoort. It’s a pretty cool track, very demanding, and we were fast straight away, I was really happy. In Q1 we were close, but not close enough. In the last session, the clutch was slipping, but issues of this kind can happen and we will bounce back strong. Apart from that, the car feels very nice to drive around here…"
# 10 - Robert Shwartzman
“It wasn’t a great day. In free practice, I didn’t push but the speed was there. Unfortunately, in Q1, I lost 4.5 tenths of a second in the third sector of my fastest lap which otherwise could have been good for P2 or P3. Qualifying 2 has been particularly tough. Probably we messed up a little bit with the strategy and I also lost out a bit in the second sector of my fastest lap. It’s not the way we hoped to start this weekend, but we’ll do our best.”