SOLID START TO MAIDEN FORMULA 3 SEASON FOR BIRD Sam Bird (20, Claygate) enjoyed his first round of British Formula 3 at Oulton Park yesterday, Easter Monday, finishing fourth in the first race and sixth in the second. Having qualified in...
SOLID START TO MAIDEN FORMULA 3 SEASON FOR BIRD
Sam Bird (20, Claygate) enjoyed his first round of British Formula 3 at Oulton Park yesterday, Easter Monday, finishing fourth in the first race and sixth in the second. Having qualified in sixth and seventh places for the two races on Saturday, his expectations were realistic "I am not thrilled with my qualifying" he said on Sunday "In pre-seaton testing I have been right up at the sharp end of the times, mixing it with the more experienced drivers. There are so many drivers in the series, and there were a lot of red flags and a lot of traffic in qualifying -- of course it was the same for everyone, but I was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to put in a really good lap. But if I can get a couple of good starts, I should be able to make up a place or two".
Monday was a miserable day, weather-wise. Colder than of late and with a hint of drizzle in the air, and a number of incidents had caused the races to be delayed. However, at the start of Race One, Bird made an impressive start and leapfrogged two places, putting him into fourth position by the first corner. A safety car was deployed for an incident after only one lap. On the restart, Sam pulled alongside third placed man, Jelley, but was unable to capitalise and had to settle for fourth position, where he stayed, unhampered to the finish line.. "I'm quite pleased with that" he said afterwards. "my first race start in F3, my first race and I was able to make up a couple of places. It's difficult to overtake at Oulton, so I had to try and make up as much as possible at the start. I've got a race under my belt now and am really looking forward to the next one."
Between the races, the rain came in heavily, but then the track started to dry out just before the start of Race 2, giving the engineers some headaches in set-up and tyre selection. In the event, the teams went out on dry tyres and the rain did stay at bay during the race. However, three red flags ensued, meaning three restarts, and a reduced race down to 10 laps! "It was quite frustrating" said Sam, "as in the 2nd restart I had managed to make up two places and get into 5th place, but another red flag meant we had to regroup in original qualifying positions."
However, Sam was able to get another good start and jump to sixth place where he remained for the rest of the race. "I'm pleased with the weekend, we come away with a good solid points haul and I hope to improve on that at Donington Park in a couple of weeks' time."