WIN NUMBER 5 FOR VERGNE AT HOCKENHEIM Jean-Eric Vergne more than corrected the early-season wobble in his Cooper Tires British F3 International Series title bid with another fine victory at the Hockenheimring in Germany this morning, to add to...
WIN NUMBER 5 FOR VERGNE AT HOCKENHEIM
Jean-Eric Vergne more than corrected the early-season wobble in his Cooper Tires British F3 International Series title bid with another fine victory at the Hockenheimring in Germany this morning, to add to the win he scored yesterday at the same circuit.
After what was by the Frenchman's high standards a disappointing trio of races at Magny-Cours in France last weekend, resulting in him losing the championship lead to Oli Webb, Vergne has bounced back to put the Carlin team back on top of the standings by a 34-point margin.
Today's performance, in the championship's 12th round, was a masterclass in stylish driving. As on Saturday, Vergne led all the way from pole position to chequered flag. By the end of the first lap he had pulled 1.2s clear of his pursuers and, over the course of the 25 laps, he stretched that lead to 21.6 seconds, the biggest victory margin of the season so far.
"It was an easy race for me," said Vergne. "To be honest it was like a 40-minute qualifying session. The car was amazing and really easy to push with. So I just did what I could, pushing every lap and making no mistakes. It's been an awesome weekend and I'm really happy for the team. Now I can forget last weekend at Magny-Cours."
The rest of the 21-car field had to settle for a battle for the lower steps of the podium. Adriano Buzaid made an excellent start to slot into second off the grid, pursued by Hitech's Will Buller as his team-mate Gabriel Dias once again suffered a slightly slower getaway and slipped from P2 on the grid to fourth.
Buller, the youngest driver in the field at 17, pulled the move of the race on lap two, charging around the outside of Buzaid's Carlin car at the Mercedes corner to snatch second place. He held on to it all the way to the line for his best-yet finish, despite a late-race misfire which saw his advantage whittled away to nothing by the final lap.
An aggressive duel for third between Carlin team-mates Buzaid and Jazeman Jaafar, which provoked furious fist waving from the Malaysian driver at one point, was settled in Jazeman's favour mid-race; it was his second podium finish of the weekend and, indeed, the season. Jaafar had earlier pushed Dias back to fifth, and sprint race victor Gabriel continued in that position to the flag, just behind countryman Buzaid.
Handicapped by a mid-grid start slot after several of his quick qualifying laps were disallowed, James Calado had a fight on his hands from the outset. He made it into the top 10 by the 10th lap, profited when Oli Webb was handed a drive-through penalty, then passed Daisuke Nakajima to secure a hard-won sixth.
Raikkonen Robertson's Nakajima salvaged the team's best result of the weekend by taking seventh, ahead of Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Lucas Foresti, Alex Brundle and Webb in 11th, his penalty for corner-cutting proving expensive in terms of lost championship points.
Jay Bridger placed 12th for the Litespeed team and this solid result, coupled with his excellent fourth-place finish in yesterday's sprint race, helped secure for him the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend accolade.
There were spins for both National class runners: Menasheh Idafar handed his T-Sport team-mate James Cole the class lead on the 10th lap and lost many seconds while he battled to get his Dallara's Mugen Honda engine refired. Then Cole dropped it three laps from the end and handed victory on a plate to Idafar. Cole still leads the class points battle, but with a much reduced advantage.
-source: bf3 series