Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist came away with fourth as his best result when the FIA Formula 3 European Championship kicked off at Monza this weekend. The 21-year-old Mücke Motorsport driver got the event off to a strong start by going fastest in Friday’s opening free practice session at the classic Italian venue, but lost out on a shot at a similar result in qualifying after failing to get a decent tow – one of the most important strategic tools available at the ultra-fast circuit – along Monza’s famous straights.

The qualifying mishap forced Rosenqvist to line up 11 on the grid for the first race of the meeting, but a rapid start and a series of overtaking moves saw last year’s Macau Grand Prix runner-up quickly rise through the field – only to be punted into retirement by one of his rivals under braking for the first chicane halfway through. The Swede eventually opened up his 2013 points account in a rain-affected Race 2, however, as he came home fourth after a solid drive in appalling conditions. The third and final race of the weekend was brought to a premature stop amid ever-worsening precipitation.

“It’s great to finally have the season underway and I’m happy to have experienced a circuit like Monza for the first time, but unfortunately, we didn’t maximise our potential here this weekend,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “The pace was genuinely there to battle for the podium – as demonstrated by the fact that my time in free practice would have been good enough to hand me pole position for Race 1 – but I didn’t manage to find that slipstream in qualifying; and that compromised the rest of the weekend. I know what I want to achieve this year, and from that perspective, I’m obviously not satisfied with where we ended up. It’s still a very long season, however, and there’s no point thinking about what could have been; we’re much better off focussing on what’s ahead. The competition is tougher than ever, but I’m convinced that we’ve got what it takes to fight up front.”

The second round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship takes place at Silverstone in the UK – another historic venue – on April 12-14.