Qualifying all too important for Blomqvist at Brands

Red Bull Junior Team’s Tom Blomqvist climbed into the top six of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship driver standings at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, thanks to top six results in races one and two and a fifth place finish in race three.

As expected before the event, qualifying proved to be the most decisive part of the second UK race meeting of 2013 and, due to the confines of the tight and twisty 1.2-mile circuit, the 29-strong field was split into two groups to alleviate the impact of traffic.

Starting race one, round 10, from seventh on the grid, less than 0.2 seconds shy of pole position, Blomqvist made a great getaway but had to tuck back in to seventh through Paddock Hill Bend. With passing pretty much impossible in an F3 car at the Kent track’s shortest configuration, the Eurointernational driver held seventh until lap 35 when Sven Muller slowed with a problem.

Elevating the Briton into sixth, he remained there to the finish but a fantastic run out of Clark Curve on the final lap almost gave him fifth on the line – missing out by just 0.071 seconds.

Round 11 was a near carbon-copy of the first encounter although Blomqvist managed to leap from seventh to sixth through the first couple of corners. While another largely uneventful race, the Dallara-Mercedes driver did challenge for fifth late on but had to settle for sixth.

Sunday morning’s 12th round provided a sterner test for Blomqvist, beginning the encounter 11th on the grid, but he rose to the challenge and produced a faultless drive into sixth once again. Breaking into the top 10 off the start, the 19-year-old moved into ninth on lap seven and a mistake for Alex Lynn on lap 15 elevated Blomqvist into eighth.

Following a mid-race Safety Car period several competitors were served with drive-through penalties, for not slowing sufficiently during the recovery of Lynn’s car, meaning Blomqvist was able to deservingly climb into the top six. Post-race, an exclusion for winner Raffaele Marciello promoted Blomqvist into fifth to cap a consistently strong weekend.

Tom Blomqvist:
“It was an OK weekend, we scored good points so I have to be happy enough with that. Overall it’s not been so bad, qualifying for race three we didn’t maximise but in the end we came through – had some fortune with a couple of guys making mistakes – and got the points. We made progress, both me and the team, so now we need to keep pushing forward for the next one in Austria.”

Red Bull Ring will be the venue for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season on 1st/2nd June.

Red Bull Junior Team