Hockenheim F3: Vips on pole as Schumacher closes on title
Juri Vips took a stunning pole in the second qualifying session of the Formula 3 European Championship finale at Hockenheim, as Mick Schumacher took a giant step towards the title.
Motopark-run F3 rookie Vips was running in a train behind Prema Powerteam pair Ralf Aron and Schumacher, and the Estonian's teammate Dan Ticktum.
When Schumacher set a 1m32.402s just into the last five minutes, and followed that up with a 1m32.500s, it looked all over bar the shouting for a session that decides the grid for races two and three.
Schumacher then had a cool lap, dropping a few positions on track, before mounting his final bid.
But Vips's Dallara-Volkswagen set fastest times in the first two sectors on the very last lap of the session, and completed the lap with a green final sector to slash the standard to 1m32.284s.
"It was quite crazy," said Vips. "It was the only lap I got without a slipstream actually - I got delayed behind Dan in my first push lap, otherwise I think my second-best lap could have been better.
"But I then got a half-decent second-best lap in. It's cooled down a little bit, so it wasn't so peaky on tyres, but still when I did my quick lap the tyres had dropped a bit - but it was good enough for pole."
Vips's 'half-decent' second-best lap was good for third on the grid for race three, while Schumacher will start second for the second and third races.
Both of them were trumped on second-best times and pole for the finale by Prema's lead Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman, who was third fastest overall.
Carlin's Jehan Daruvala continued his strong Friday. He was fourth fastest overall, just 0.006 seconds slower than front-row man Schumacher, while his second-best time puts him sixth on the grid for the finale.
Alex Palou also kept up his strong form, the Hitech GP man taking fifth on the grid for race two and fourth for race three.
The surprise of this session was Julian Hanses on only his second outing since joining Carlin after splitting from Ma-con earlier in the season. The German was sixth, but plummets to 16th for the finale.
The top 10 was completed by Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin), Ralf Aron (Prema), Fabio Scherer (Motopark) and Enaam Ahmed (Hitech).
On second-best times, Aron moves up to fifth, Fenestraz stays seventh, Ahmed goes up to ninth and Scherer drops out of the top 10.
First-race poleman Guan Yu Zhou was a lowly 12th in his Prema car, but is eighth for race three, but the big disaster befell Schumacher's closest title rival Ticktum.
The Red Bull junior is only 15th on the grid for race two - one place behind the other title contender Marcus Armstrong - but moves up to 10th for the finale.
Mick Schumacher, PREMA Theodore Racing Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Photo by: FIA F3 / Suer
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