Red Bull's Tom Blomqvist collects two F3 podium finishes at Hockenheim
PUBLISHED: 19:33 07 May 2013 | UPDATED: 19:03 08 May 2013
TWO podium finishes and a spot on the front row of the grid in qualifying were enough to reinforce Tom Blomqvist's belief that his first win of the Formula 3 European Championship campaign is not far away.
The Red Bull junior driver enjoyed his best weekend of the season at Hockenheim in Germany and now lies seventh in the championship as the series moves to Brands Hatch for the second British meeting on the calendar on May 18.
It was a positive step forward for Blomqvist and his Eurointernational team but the 19-year-old was under no illusion more work was needed to hunt down championship leader and last year’s runner-up Raffaele Marciello.
The Italian Prema Powerteam racer was in peerless form once again as he was crowned the victor in two of the three races last weekend – with Blomqvist joining him on the podium following a pair of third place finishes.
“It wasn’t a bad weekend - getting some podiums and a handful of points shows we have made a little step forward but I think we still need to make another one,” the Saffron Walden racer said.
“In a way I think we’re performing above expectations because we’re a one car team who have a quarter of the number of guys working for us as Prema and Fortec, so we’re up against it.
“But at the same time we need to win. We have got the backing of Red Bull and need to be at the front every time we go racing. There is no excuse for us not being there.”
Blomqvist was pleased with his performance in qualifying – securing fourth, second and ninth on the grid for races one to three, respectively – but said an improvement in the car’s race pace was the priority.
In the final event the 19-year-old crossed the line in eighth – a low key end to the weekend he put down to the gamble of trying a different car set-up which failed to pay off.
Nevertheless, it was a marked improvement from a difficult weekend at Silverstone last month and signs of progress following a test day at the Italian circuit Vallelunga two weeks ago.
“The car has improved a little from the test but not as much as we would have liked,” Blomqvist added. “We didn’t learn as much as we hoped, despite trying out a lot of things, and weren’t able to get a big step forward in performance.
“I think we can certainly fight for victory but that will be easier once we fully understand the car. The team are doing a brilliant job and hopefully we can continue to work as hard as we have been.
“Qualifying at Brands Hatch is going to be so important. There will be a lot of pressure on us to get on top of the car set-up as early as possible because it’s a short track and there are 30 cars racing, so we need to analyse and digest what we’ve got from Hockenheim and hope to come up with the right solution.”