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Michael Lewis Finishes 6th in Formula 3 Euro Series at Nürburgring in Germany

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Moving up through the field during the 20-minute sprint Race 2, Lewis quickly marched from his 15th starting position to an impressive 9th in just 15 laps.
Moving up through the field during the 20-minute sprint Race 2, Lewis quickly marched from his 15th starting position to an impressive 9th in just 15 laps.
Racing and being a racer, has offered Michael Lewis parameters to a life few of us could associate with. Since before he can even remember not racing, it has defined who he is. He has an innate endowment for translating what he feels through a steering wheel and pedals and computing a dozen critical decisions at light-speed. That gift became obvious to anyone that saw him win the Pomona Valley 1/4 Midget Association Senior Honda and Light 160 Honda Championships when he was barely a teenager.

Last year when Lewis won the Rookie of the Year honors racing in the 2011 ACI Sport Formula 3 Italia Championship, and finished second in the point chase, just barely missing the overall title, his move into the Formula 3 Euro Series seemed instantly destined to be jam-packed with even more career significant highlight moments. And to be absolutely clear, he is still on an accelerated learning curve in 2012, but for Lewis, anything less than a podium trip just isn't acceptable, so he pushes himself even harder. His mixed results at Germany's famous Nürburgring last weekend, which marks the beginning of the second half of the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series, left Lewis and the PREMA Powerteam looking for answers.
Lewis adjusts his helmet just prior to climbing in to his PREMA Powerteam Dallara F312 race car powered by Mercedes for Sunday's Round 15 of the Formula 3 Euro Series.
Lewis adjusts his helmet just prior to climbing in to his PREMA Powerteam Dallara F312 race car powered by Mercedes for Sunday's Round 15 of the Formula 3 Euro Series.


However, from a humble outsider's point of view, one pragmatic factor might be that in his car, the one place Lewis has always been able to find peace from outside influences, and enact evenhanded control over his world, has suddenly become too loud. The mounting pressures and responsibilities to win for everyone else that Lewis feels, are beginning to creep into his helmet, and all the pushing and mental preparation is only tightening the knot. So, now it seems decisions that normally come instinctively and at the speed of thought, he's second guessing, and in a world measured in hundredths of a second - that changes everything.

"I have studied very hard for the last two weeks preparing for my first visit to Nürburgring by watching video and studying my team's engineering reports from past races here," remarked Lewis prior to qualifying. "I feel that I have a good grasp of what I need to do to be among the fast drivers here."

Friday's qualifying for the Euro Series' visit to Nürburgring featured grid positions for Saturday's Round 13 that were determined by only hundredths of a second, which placed the K&N sponsored American in 10th place on the starting grind.
Lewis started Sunday's Round 15 in 10th and quickly moved up the field. At one point, he dropped several positions, but charged through the field to finish.
Lewis started Sunday's Round 15 in 10th and quickly moved up the field. At one point, he dropped several positions, but charged through the field to finish.


Saturday morning 17 Formula 3 Euro Series cars were placed on the grid for the 29-lap, or 40-minute race. Lewis got a strong start and chose the inside line for the important turn one battle for position. He was able to overtake one car and then gained another position on the next corner. However, Michael went wide on the track and lost the positions he gained. As the first few laps unfolded it was clear that Lewis had the speed to move forward, but passing at Nürburgring is tough. Lewis followed closely on the rear wing of driver Tom Blomqvist as Blomqvist kept on the rear wing of William Buller, and they continued on for a number of laps. Later in the race, Lewis spun and went off the track but was able to keep the car running to rejoin the race. He came back to finish 15th.

"I put myself in a tough position for this Nürburgring race as a result of Friday's qualifying effort, which was not want I wanted to happen," said Lewis after the race. "I knew going into the race that I would have to pass to move forward and the two cars ahead of me were running about the same pace I was running, so I started pushing to get by Blomqvist and unfortunately flew off the track."
Michael Lewis sits ready to launch into the Formula 3 Euro Series race
Michael Lewis sits ready to launch into the Formula 3 Euro Series race


The second race of the weekend, Round 14, was a 20-minute, 15-lap sprint race. The starting grid for this race was determined by the finishing order from Saturday's first race, which placed Lewis in 15th on the grid. By lap-7, Lewis had worked his way into 10th, and on lap 14 he made a classic pass at turn-1 to claim 9th position, where he finished the race just behind his PREMA Powerteam teammate Daniel Juncadella.

The third and final race of the Formula 3 Euro Series' race weekend took place on Sunday. Lewis once again started 10th. After a lot of shuffling for position during the middle laps, for the last 8 laps of the race, a torrid battle ensued by the top four drivers while they challenged for positions 3 through 6. When the checkered flag waved, Lewis crossed the start/finish line in a solid 6th place.

"After my spin on the first lap I had to make up ground quickly," explained Lewis. "Because I had such a good car from the PREMA Powerteam, I passed cars and made up time. I got back up to the front and challenged the three drivers that were all vying for third place. On the last lap I made an attempt to pass Tom Blomqvist in Turn 1 but could not make it stick. It was a fun race and I earned some championship points, too."

Lewis' next race will be this coming weekend when the Formula 3 Euro Series visits Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands.

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