Weekend of ups and downs for Maxwell in AustriA
By Megan Cantle
Thomas Maxwell looked to continue his impressive run of points at this weekend’s round of the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship after a strong seventh place in race one, but damage to his car in race two meant that he could not achieve the same feat again.
The action took place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and was the first round back after the summer break. Maxwell went into the weekend feeling refreshed and eager to start racing again and was looking to build on what had been a consistent and promising first half of the season.
But motorsport is temperamental. An issue in FP1 for Maxwell meant that his running time was significantly reduced, and he went into qualifying ‘on the back foot’. Nevertheless, in both qualifying sessions, he put himself towards the top of the midfield pack, with only narrow margins to those in the top ten. This gave him a good spot to start his climb through the field from.
Race one started out in the sun but ended early due to rain. Maxwell made a good start off the line and had climbed to ninth by the time a safety car was called out on lap two. When racing restarted, the Australian was lining-up Victor Martins and Arthur Rougier, making light-work of passing the latter for eighth almost straight away. Then later on the same lap, he pulled off a daring move to get past Martins to claim seventh place. He quickly went about making sure he maintained his position, whilst simultaneously chasing down sixth, which would have equaled his best performance so far this year, but rain stopped play early. As the race didn’t reach 75% completion, the points awarded were halved, but Maxwell still added to his tally.
The start of race two looked promising for Maxwell, as he got involved with some great battles inside the top ten, displaying mature and determined racing. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the action, slight contact was made that damaged Thomas’ front wing, leaving the team no choice but to bring him into the pits and change the front wing. They were able to get back out on track, but it was too little, too late. Although disappointing for Maxwell, he had been showing good pace early on, and with all of the drama unfolding around him in several different battles, surely would have stood a good chance of gaining more points.
"At the end of the day, our qualifying performance wasn’t good enough or a true representation of our speed,’ he commented."
"Our incident in FP1 hampered our weekend a lot and put us on the back foot with limited running which didn’t enable us to fix some issues with the car and with my driving before qualifying. I do believe we had the potential to fight for the top six positions during the weekend, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
"We tried to race our way up the front, which we were able to do in race one, but we sustained front wing damage whilst trying to do the same in race two which dropped us out of contention after having to make a pit stop. It just wasn’t the weekend for us that we’d be hoping for but we still believe the car is strong, and our time will come."
Formula Renault next heads to the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium this weekend, and Maxwell is hoping to bounce back and grab some more all important points to add to his tally.