SILVERSTONE SUCCESS FOR RICCIARDO & VAN DER ZANDE Daniel Ricciardo edged ever closer to the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series championship title today (Sun) at Silverstone, the Carlin Motorsport driver netting one race...
SILVERSTONE SUCCESS FOR RICCIARDO & VAN DER ZANDE
Daniel Ricciardo edged ever closer to the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series championship title today (Sun) at Silverstone, the Carlin Motorsport driver netting one race win and a third-place finish, ahead of his chief title rival Walter Grubmuller, to increase his points advantage to 45 with only four races remaining. Grubmuller's Hitech team-mate Renger van der Zande was the second-race victor at Silverstone.
Race 1 After dominating qualifying for round 15 yesterday, Ricciardo repeated the feat in this morning's Silverstone race, leading all the way from pole position to chequered flag to record his fifth race win of the season.
The 20-year-old Australian and his Red Bull-backed Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Volkswagen made an impeccable start to build a one-second lead over his closest pursuer, van der Zande, on the opening lap. That was as close as anyone would come to Daniel for the remainder of the race.
The demandingly technical nature of the Silverstone International circuit militated against much overtaking. Most of the action occurred away from the startline, Ricciardo's team-mate Max Chilton fluffing his getaway and slipping from second on the grid to fourth behind van der Zande and Grubmuller.
"It was pretty straightforward," said Ricciardo. "I got the start I needed to get. I saw that Max didn't get away well and let the Hitech boys through, but that was out of my control so I had just to focus on my race, setting the fastest lap and taking the win. After a few laps I saw the cars in my mirrors getting a bit smaller, and that's what I wanted to see."
After lap one, the only passing manoeuvre in the top 10 came on the 17th of the 23 laps, when van der Zande, who had looked a secure second, lost time and was overtaken by his Hitech team-mate Grubmuller.
"I was under a bit of pressure at the start from Chilton," said Grubmuller, "and towards the end it was difficult because there were a lot of lapped cars, but other than that it was all straightforward for me."
"We were struggling a bit with the set-up this weekend," added van der Zande. "Winning here was not possible and I am disappointed. I look forward to the next race..."
Chilton recovered from his slow getaway to hang on to fourth all the way to the line, ahead of his Carlin team-mate Henry Arundel, and the Dallaras of Carlos Huertas, Wayne Boyd, Riki Christodoulou, Daisuke Nakajima and Adriano Buzaid.
T-Sport's Gabriel Dias led all the way in the National Class, finishing 11th overall to record his fifth class win of the season. The man who has led the class points standings all season, Fortec's Daniel McKenzie, was a solid second despite complaining of handling problems.
Race 2 Van der Zande claimed a brilliant third win of his 2009 campaign this afternoon at Silverstone, the Hitech driver wresting the lead of the race from the clutches of pole-sitter and first-time leader Daisuke Nakajima at mid-distance and romping to an 11-second victory. Championship leader Ricciardo placed third to enhance his points advantage.
Nakajima made a copybook start from his maiden British F3 pole in his Raikkonen Robertson Racing machine, pursued by Carlin's Max Chilton and Hitech team-mates van der Zande and Walter Grubmuller, with Ricciardo slotting into fifth on the opening lap.
Lap eight was decisive to the outcome of the race, van der Zande popping past Chilton for second and Ricciardo catching out Grubmuller to relieve his chief title rival of fourth place. Next lap van der Zande barged past Nakajima around the outside at Abbey to lift the lead and run away with the race.
"The start was not that great for me," said Renger. "But I managed to get close while Max and Daisuke were fighting, then I passed Max around the outside at Luffield, and then a lap later I managed to go around the outside of Nakajima also. There was a bit of wheel-banging on the straight after. At the end I pushed to increase by lead to 11 seconds, and I'm very happy with that."
Chilton fancied his chances of following van der Zande's example in passing Nakajima, and made a move at Becketts on the 11th lap; alas their cars touched and Max not only failed to relieve him of second but also spun back to ninth.
That handed third to Ricciardo. "My start wasn't that good," said Daniel, "and Walter managed to jump me and I fell back to fifth. After a few laps I managed to get by Walter when he made a mistake, and then within a lap or two I was on the back of the leading guys, who were fighting quite aggressively. It was fun to watch them and I really wanted to be a part of the battle but always at the back of my mind was the championship..."
Grubmuller had no answer to Ricciardo in the closing stages and had to settle for fourth, and watch Daniel increase his championship advantage to 45 points.
Nakajima's team-mate Carlos Huertas took fifth ahead of Riki Christodoulou and Chilton, who recovered from his off to twice pass Wayne Boyd to secure seventh. Henry Arundel and Victor Garcia rounded out the top 10.
National Class points leader Daniel McKenzie got tangled up with others' problems on the opening lap and lost a lot of time to T-Sport's Gabriel Dias. Daniel recovered to pass Litespeed's Victor Correa for second in class but could not catch Dias, who said: "The race was good for me. All I can keep doing is to try to take as many wins and fastest laps as I can." McKenzie's championship lead is now 53 points with four races remaining.