RICCIARDO & CHILTON CLAIM FINAL-MEETING VICTORIES
New champion and his team-mate are the men on top at Brands Hatch
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 season was concluded in some style at Brands Hatch today (Sun), with race wins for Carlin team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Chilton. Ricciardo crowned his championship-winning season with a dominant display in the first of the day's races and Chilton brought his British F3 career to a close in the best possible way, with a lights-to-flag win in the finale.
Newly crowned Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo demonstrated exactly why he's the crown-wearer with a virtuoso display in round 19 of the championship. The 20-year-old Australian led all the way from pole position, lowered the lap record twice, and claimed the biggest victory margin of the season on his way to his seventh win.
Daniel and his Red Bull-backed Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Volkswagen extended their lead over pursuing team-mate Max Chilton on every lap bar one - when he encountered lapped traffic - and romped home more than 15 seconds clear.
Ricciardo, who was boosted pre-race by a visit from the last Australian to wear the British F3 crown, David Brabham, said: "From the start I just got away and focused on my job and didn't have to worry once about what was going on behind me. Carlin prepared an amazing car which was suited just perfectly to the conditions, which made my job quite easy. David Brabham wished me all the best and congratulated me on the title win; it's great to see him here supporting us young kids."
Chilton, unfazed by smoke billowing from his blazing brake pads at the end of the warming-up lap, made a good start from the front row to slot into second at the lights but had no chance of catching Ricciardo. "I was struggling under braking the whole race," said Max, "so second is a good result."
On a track notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities, fortune favoured the brave and accurate on the opening lap. Riki Christodoulou (Fortec) and Marcus Ericsson (Raikkonen Robertson) made good starts and held station, third and fourth, all the way to the end, with Hitech's Walter Grubmuller making up a couple of places away from the line to net himself fifth.
Carlos Huertas held sixth throughout, ahead of Henry Arundel all the way to the flag. Wayne Boyd made the best of a dramatic opening lap, making up three places but suffering front wing damage in the process which led to T-Sport calling him into the pits for repairs. Wayne's team-mate, Adriano Buzaid, profited from Boyd's pit stop, inheriting eighth.
National Class Champion Daniel McKenzie made up an astonishing six places thanks to a lightning start and aggressive opening lap, the Fortec driver winning his class easily and collecting ninth overall, ahead of Hywel Lloyd.
Max Chilton brought his British F3 career to an impressive conclusion, leading the championship's final round from start to finish to claim the Carlin team's ninth victory of the season.
Chilton, who earlier clinched the Mirror.co.uk Challenge Cup as the championship's leading British driver, did not put a wheel wrong as he took advantage of a rare startline error from newly crowned champion Ricciardo to blast into an early lead. Chilton survived a safety car period, brought about by a crash involving the car of Max Snegirev, nailed the restart and romped home to win from Riki Christodoulou by a one-second margin.
"That meant a lot for me," said Max, "because my win in Portugal wasn't an outright victory and didn't make the headlines. This will, and that's a big relief. I loved every minute of it. It was a pretty standard F3 race around here: try to make places up at the start and, once I had done that, I knew it would be hard for anyone to pass me. The safety car was a bit of a worry but I managed to pull out a good lead after that as well." Max was additionally awarded the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award.
Marcus Ericsson also got by pole-sitter Ricciardo at the start and slotted into third, which position he held to the chequered flag, with the new champion recovering from his startline wobble to claim fourth. "A bit disappointing," said Ricciardo. "The start was a problem. As soon as I released the clutch the wheels just started spinning and I think because there's a bit of a slope on the grid I couldn't really get out of it, so I went from first to fourth. But it's been a great year, a great weekend for the team and it's great to see Max get his win."
Henry Arundel finished fifth on the road but was later docked 20 seconds for a start infringement, which moved Walter Grubmuller up a place. The Austrian netted enough points from the weekend to displace his absent Hitech team-mate, Renger van der Zande, from the championship runner-up position.
Daisuke Nakajima claimed sixth ahead of Wayne Boyd, the Ulsterman beating his team-mate Adriano Buzaid to seventh, with Carlos Huertas in ninth ahead of Victor Garcia, National Class winner Gabriel Dias and the final point-scorer, Jay Bridger. Arundel ended up 14th.