Two drivers achieved their best Qualifying results in the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship season: Jenzer’s William Alatalo starred to take seventh and bounce back from a difficult weekend at Zandvoort while Campos’ Pepe Martí turned around a season of struggles in Qualifying to finish tenth in the session and start third for the Sprint Race on Saturday.
By Michael McClure
The top six in Qualifying yielded no surprises, with Alexander Smolyar heading off five of the top six drivers in the championship: Zane Maloney, Roman Staněk, Victor Martins, Arthur Leclerc and Ollie Bearman. But behind them, Alatalo sprung a surprise with Jenzer’s first top-ten Qualifying result this season.
Alatalo: ‘I feel good’
Speaking to F1 Feeder Series from the Monza paddock, Alatalo felt there was still more to come from his lap time but expressed optimism for how the weekend could unfold.
It’s a lot of racing happening so we’ve got to do our best, also in the races, but it’s a good start for the weekendWilliam Alatalo
“I feel good – I will say not great, but I feel good. It wasn’t a perfect lap, [but] it was a good lap,” Alatalo said about his performance. “It took a little too long – nine races, nine qualifying [sessions] to get here. It should have been only Bahrain, but again it’s a good way to end the last qualifying of the season.
“In the end, it’s still Monza … It’s a lot of racing happening so we’ve got to do our best, also in the races, but it’s a good start for the weekend.”
The Finnish-Ethiopian driver plans to take a methodical approach to the races, which he starts sixth and seventh, on his way to the podium he’s hoping to earn.
Best result is the P6 from Spa, so a podium would mean a lotWilliam Alatalo
“I’m hoping for a good start and picking off the drivers one by one and hoping to be on the podium so it doesn’t change quite bad or anything. In the end, they are just people there in front of me, and I’m trying to overtake,” Alatalo said.
“Of course, [a podium] would mean a lot. Best result is the P6 from Spa, so a podium would mean a lot. That was kind of my goal also in the season, to have at least a podium once, and the best place to do it is in the end of the season, here in Monza. We’ll fight for that.”
Martí succeeds despite steering wheel mishap
With his season-best 10th-place qualifying result – which was originally 11th before Juan Manuel Correa lost his best lap time for violating double yellow flags – it appears as though everything went perfectly for Martí. However, as the Spaniard told F1 Feeder Series, a technical issue before Qualifying left him behind on time, forcing him to set lap times off sequence while most other cars waited in the pits.
I had to be pushed back into the pit lane, so we were like five minutes late at the beginningPepe Martí
“It wasn’t intended,” Martí says about running on a different plan. “The beginning of the session – well, before actually the session – we had a problem with the steering. We just lost clutch, we lost gearing, so we couldn’t engage first [gear], so I couldn’t go into the pit lane. I had to be pushed back into the pit lane, so we were like five minutes late at the beginning.
“That kind of put us a bit out of sequence. We had to do one less push than everyone else, and in that sense it got me a little bit out of focus, but during the session we did a good job. We improved and we had a solid car, so in that sense, the team did a great job.”
Header Photo Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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