Harry Tincknell claims fifth in F3 rankings in Hockenheim
Harry Tincknell confirmed himself as one of the leading up-and-coming talents in motorsport by wrapping up fifth position in the hotly-contested FIA Formula 3 European Championship in the finale at Hockenheim.
The 21-year-old from Devon took fifth place in all three races on the German Grand Prix circuit, proving his consistency yet again in his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen.
It was a weekend on which Tincknell bounced back to front-running form, and he was unlucky not to take at least one podium finish.
That was backed up by his qualifying form, in which Harry was third fastest in each of the two qualifying sessions.
“We know the track much better than when we raced here earlier in the season, and we’d had a reasonably good test there last month,” he said.
“I was very happy with qualifying. In first qualifying I had one of my lap times taken away for exceeding track limits in Turn 1, otherwise I would have been third on the grid for all three races, but even with that penalty I was still fourth on the grid for race two and third for the others.
“First qualifying was a good start, so I went for broke in the second session, knowing that if it didn’t work out I already had two good grid positions. I gave it everything and improved my time, but so too did Raffaele Marciello and Felix Rosenqvist. Even so, it was a big step forward from Vallelunga the previous weekend.”
Tincknell was holding down a strong third place in race one when fellow Briton Alex Lynn tried a long-range move on him going into the hairpin on the seventh lap. The duo collided, with Harry initially dropping down the order to seventh place but recovering to claim fifth.
“The contact was a bit annoying,” he said. “I was on a defensive line and he tried to lunge me up the inside. His front wheel and my rear got interlocked, and as he tried to get unlocked from me he pushed me further off the circuit. When we hit a speedbump in the runoff area that untangled us, but it damaged my car.
“After that it was a bit of a struggle, although I lunged Dennis van de Laar straight back to make up one of the places I’d lost. It’s a bit disappointing – I chatted with Alex afterwards and we’re fine now, which is good because we’re friends off the track.”
From fourth on the grid, Tincknell lost a place to Lucas Auer on the opening lap of race two. From then on he came under pressure, first from Antonio Giovinazzi and then from Sven Muller, who he held off to the flag.
“A lot of people used their remaining new tyres in that race, because they expected the third race to be wet,” said Harry. “We were banking on it staying dry for the last race – that’s what our weather forecast told us – so we used old tyres, and as a result our pace wasn’t that good.
“Muller can be quite feisty and he’s had a few incidents this year, but I did my best to fend him off, but it’s a shame our gamble on the tyres didn’t pay off.”
Indeed, Sunday dawned very wet, meaning everyone had to use wet-weather tyres. Tincknell was holding down a solid third place when the safety car appeared, meaning that Auer closed right up. Under pressure from the Austrian, he ran wide through the gravel and dropped to fifth place.
“That was really disappointing,” he said. “I was going well but the safety car allowed Lucas back onto me. I made a mistake in the Mercedes Arena, which gave him a run on me into the stadium section. I braked a bit too late on a puddle and aquaplaned off the track.”
Still, Tincknell finished the season fifth in the championship, the leading scorer from the Carlin team and also the top-placed driver using Volkswagen power. And the increase in competitiveness bodes well for next month’s Macau Grand Prix.
“They were solid results, but it would have been really nice to finish off with a podium,” he said, “and now I certainly want to make it up to the boys by getting one in Macau! Last year was a really good first visit for me, and I’m returning with a lot more experience under my belt. I know that the Carlin team have been working hard on their Macau package for a long time, and we’ll all go there and push each other to get some good results.”
Macau may be four weeks away, but there’s no resting, as Harry is making a trip to the Indian Grand Prix next weekend, where he will take part in the MRF Challenge support races. This is the beginning of a four-round ‘winter’ series for the F3-style cars, backed by the Indian tyre company.
“It will be a great experience!” said Tincknell, who is a member of the BRDC’s Rising Stars initiative. “It’s an important circuit to learn and we will get plenty of track time, and hopefully I should be able to get some good results. The car is backed by Renault, so this is a great opportunity for me.
“My Carlin team-mate Jordan King did very well in the MRF series last year so I’ve been picking his brain. The deal is just for this coming weekend at the moment but I’m really looking forward to it.”