SUPERB DRIVE EARNS SIMS BRITISH F3 PODIUM AT SPA ART Grand Prix's Alexander Sims once again made his presence felt in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium today, Saturday, 31st July, by racing...
SUPERB DRIVE EARNS SIMS BRITISH F3 PODIUM AT SPA
ART Grand Prix's Alexander Sims once again made his presence felt in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium today, Saturday, 31st July, by racing to a richly deserved podium finish during the third of the weekend's encounters.
Taking the opportunity to join the British championship as an Invitation Class driver for the second time this year -- having won on his debut in the series at Silverstone back in May -- Alexander scythed his way through the order sensationally during this afternoon's 40-minute 'feature' race.
Lining up an uncharacteristic, and unrepresentative, 16th on the grid due to difficulties in finding a set-up which extracted the required performance from the tyres, the 22-year-old F3 Euroseries regular had a much improved Mercedes-powered car under him for the final race.
Into 10th position by the end of the first lap, the MSA Team UK driver gained two further positions on the second tour and then climbed into the top six on lap four. Enjoying his first opportunity of the weekend to truly attack, Alexander grabbed fifth place at mid-distance but then had the chance to take the final podium place on lap 15 when Oli Webb and Carlos Huertas made contact ahead.
Not only did today's podium result mark a superb turnaround from the challenges which blighted the first two races for the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner on Friday, it also meant he won the Invitation Class battle -- a rewarding conclusion to a very difficult weekend.
"I'm really pleased to have ended the weekend on the podium, it's a good reward after struggling so much on Friday", said Alexander, "In the first couple of races I had to defend all of the time just to try and keep position, I couldn't attack at all, but today's race was much better. We definitely had much more performance and I was able to catch and overtake people. All in all, it was a good race."
Although running on Kumho tyres in the F3 Euroseries rather than the Cooper rubber used in the British championship, Alexander and his team were at a loss to understand the lack of performance on Friday considering their race-winning exploits on Cooper tyres at Silverstone. The problem was evident in the first two races though where he finished 13th and 10th after very hard-fought drives.
"We just couldn't understand the tyres at all on Thursday and Friday, we were all mystified where the performance was", he added, "Having gone so well at Silverstone and with the team having raced at Spa last year, we thought we'd have a good base to start from. That wasn't the case, we struggled massively in qualifying and the first races, but at least we turned that around in the end."
Alexander will return to the more familiar surroundings of the F3 Euroseries next weekend, 7th/8th August, for the ninth and 10th rounds of the 2010 season at the Nurburgring in Germany. Heading into the event, he is fourth in the championship.