Harry Tincknell takes strong podium at Brands
Up-and-coming British racing star Harry Tincknell claimed his second FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish of the season after a strong performance in the latest round at Brands Hatch.
Silverstone race winner Tincknell, 21, was third on the road in the third and final race of the weekend, but was moved up to second place when race winner Raffaele Marciello was excluded for a technical infringement.
He added this to fifth place in race one and seventh in race two on a weekend where he returned to form after a difficult weekend last time out at Hockenheim. In each of the three races and two qualifying sessions, Harry was the best-placed of the five-strong Carlin team of Dallara-Volkswagens.
Qualifying is all-important on the tight-and-twisty Brands Indy circuit, and Tincknell laid the foundations for his strong race performances by taking sixth on the grid for races one and two, and fourth for race three.
“We had some problems in free practice, so made quite a few changes to make the car better,” he said. “We then changed the car again for the second qualifying session and it was better again. I’m a little bit annoyed with some of the other drivers who baulked me while I was on good laps, but I’m happy that we’re back where we should be – in the top six.”
Tincknell was looking to make up places at the start of race one, but got boxed in by cars ahead and ended up maintaining his sixth position. He withstood pressure from the chasing Tom Blomqvist and then moved up to fifth when a car ahead hit mechanical problems.
“I got into third after the start, but Lucas Auer came across and hit my right rear and I lost the positions I’d made,” he said. “We didn’t quite have the pace, but you just have to drive a clean race as it’s exceptionally hard to overtake here. It was especially tricky with the backmarkers – the blue flags only seemed to come now and again and it’s so tight here.”
Again Harry was out of luck at the start of race two, and his bid to overtake at the Druids hairpin ended with his being demoted to seventh by Blomqvist at Graham Hill Bend. He then chased his ex-Formula Renault rival all the way, while in turn having to defend from Josh Hill, to claim seventh place.
“I made a much better start, but I got totally boxed in at Druids,” he said. “After that, as a team I think we’re struggling a little on race pace and it was tough to get any further up the order.”
In race three, Tincknell moved up to third when Alex Lynn spun off ahead of him, and then gained a further place due to Marciello’s exclusion. It was a tough race, but he stayed firm as Felix Rosenqvist hovered behind, waiting for any opportunity to pass.
“My pace was much stronger today,” said Harry. “We found a minor problem with the rear suspension, which made it feel strange in race two. So I knew I had a strong chance of a podium.”
Tincknell was the only driver from outside the Prema Powerteam squad to take a podium finish at Brands. “It’s good to spoil the Prema party!” he added. “But I didn’t quite have the pace to challenge the guys ahead. Our qualifying is pretty strong, but on race pace we still have one or two more tenths to find. But it was a much stronger performance today.”
Harry, who is a member of the BRDC Rising Stars initiative, will now prepare for the next round of the championship, at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on 1st and 2nd June. It will be his first races at the track, but he will be going into the weekend with confidence buoyed after moving up to fifth in the points.
“It will just be about getting a strong basis and doing as much preparation as possible, but I’m really looking forward to it – and it’s a great track!” he said.