Team UK driver Alexander Sims slipped to fifth in the F3 Euroseries standings after enduring a frustrating weekend at Hockenheim.
Having taken two podium finishes, including a win, at Paul Ricard to open the season, a disappointing retirement from the third round became compounded by mechanical troubles in round four, leaving the ART Grand Prix driver trailing his main rivals.
Heading into the event second in the standings and aiming to add to his Ricard success, the 22-year old winner was just six-tenth of a second outside pole position, but only sixth fastest in qualifying. Then, despite making a good start to the first of the weekend's two races, his afternoon was over by the second corner, when Laurens Vanthoor braked far earlier than expected, leaving the British ace nowhere to go. The result was inevitable contact and an immediate retirement for Sims.
“In qualifying, we weren't fast enough, simple as that,” the Briton admitted, “I should have been a couple of tenths of a second quicker and, if I had been, we would have been in the fight for pole position. As it was, we started sixth for the first race and retired at the second corner, so it most certainly wasn't the start we had hoped for.
“Vanthoor braked horrendously early for the second corner, which caught me out, and contact was inevitable. That's not an excuse by any means but, when a driver brakes 50 metres earlier than would normally be the case, it's easy to be caught out.”
Lining up 17th and last on the grid for round four by virtue of his non-finish in the first encounter, the ART Grand Prix racer scythed his way through the order into sixth position before a mysterious fault with the car resulted in major rear grip issues. Working miracles to finish the race, Sims did a great job to steer his Mercedes-powered car to eighth place but, again, knew that it could have been so much better.
“In race two, I'd climbed up to sixth from 17th on the grid, so I was pleased with that, but then something broke on the car," he confirmed,, "We're not sure what the problem was yet, but all of my rear grip went away and, as such, my lap times dropped off by at least two seconds. In the end, I was eaten up and slipped to eighth. It's very disappointing but sometimes this is the way things work out.”
With a four-week break in the Euroseries calendar - with rounds five and six scheduled to take place at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia over 22-23 May, Sims will attempt to banish his Hockenheim blues by competing in the Invitation Class of the British F3 Series at Silverstone – remarkably, his first ever outing in his national F32 championship