Double R Racing took its first victory of 2013 at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 26th May, during round two of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series – Italian rookie Antonio Giovinazzi claiming his maiden win in F3 and the Woking team’s first success since 2011.
Tatiana Calderón, meanwhile, continued to show strong improvement throughout the event and her performance in round two was particularly impressive, running in the top four for the vast majority of the 16-lap encounter before finishing in seventh place. Notably, the Colombian’s appearance in British F3 this weekend marked the first for a female driver in the headline class since 2006.
“It’s a really great day for Double R Racing”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “It’s fantastic for Antonio to have his first win and for Sean to be on the podium, these results are well deserved and shows the pace is there. Tatiana has done a great job as well this weekend and she drove really well in race two, she’s improving all the time – we’re delighted with all three of them.”
Gelael produced a magnificent performance in qualifying on Saturday morning, by far the best of his maiden year in F3, by posting the fourth fastest time overall – a mere 0.4 seconds shy of the front row – and third of those eligible to score championship points; Invitational Class driver John Bryant-Meisner having qualified on pole.
Although Giovinazzi led the way for Double R early on, having been ultra-quick in testing, a problem with his Dallara’s rear upright meant he slipped down the order to ninth quickest overall at the end of the session. Calderón, meanwhile, made it all three Double R team-mates in the top 10.
With second fastest times setting the grid for round one, Gelael lined-up in eighth with Giovinazzi alongside in ninth and Calderón in 10th place. At the start, Gelael kept out of trouble and managed to climb through into fifth position with Giovinazzi moving into seventh just ahead of Calderón.
Giovinazzi took sixth on lap two and raced into the top four overall, third in terms of the British F3 points scorers, by two thirds race distance but a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to sixth in the final classification.
Indonesian youngster Gelael showed his qualifying pace was no fluke with a very impressive race performance. Although dropping behind Giovinazzi early on to seventh, just in front of Calderón, Gelael profited from a tangle ahead to move into fifth with Calderón climbing into sixth.
When Giovinazzi served his penalty at the end of lap 14 Gelael assumed fourth place, third in the points, and remained there to the chequered flag to secure his first podium in Formula 3. Calderón was fifth on the road and only 0.6 seconds behind her team-mate after a consistently strong drive.
Tremendous double podium for 16-year-old Gelael
With the top eight finishers from race one ‘reversed’ to form the upper order of the round two grid, Giovinazzi lined up third overall – on pole position in terms of the International Class drivers – with Calderón fourth and Gelael fifth.
Making an excellent start, Giovinazzi went to the outside at Copse and rocketed past for the lead as Gelael climbed into third overall after a similarly strong getaway before taking second at Stowe. Calderón held fourth initially and although slipping behind Will Buller, the South American moved back into fourth ahead of Ed Jones on lap two.
Giovinazzi scorched away at the front and built a lead of 3.7 seconds by lap 11, driving faultlessly, before opting to look after his tyres during the closing stages as he coaxed his Dallara-Mercedes home to a sensational maiden victory.
“The car was good, the team did a great job and I was able to do good lap times – winning my first race is really fantastic”, said Giovinazzi, “I made a good gap and then over the last five laps I looked after the tyres for the next race. Thank you to the guys in the team for giving me a great car.”
Gelael made it a Double R one-two until lap six at Stowe when the vastly more experienced Buller managed to get ahead. Sticking with his rival to begin with, Gelael remained in third to brilliantly secure his second podium in as many races. Calderón held fourth impressively for the bulk of the race and although slipping to seventh by the finish, her performance was easily a season’s best.
“I’m really, really pleased”, said Gelael after round two, “As a rookie coming here, OK we knew the track from the European series but other than that we didn’t know anything else. The set-up was good today, we proved our pace and to have two podiums in the bag is great.
“As a rookie driver you need as much mileage as you can, I’m still only 16 so that’s why we’re here doing the British championship as well as the European one. The top 10 here is full of good drivers, the same sort of quality as Europe, so these results show we’re improving.”
In round three, which was fairly uneventful for the Double R trio, Gelael led the team’s attack from fourth on the grid but was shuffled back down the order to an eventual finish of eighth in between Giovinazzi and Calderón. Each finished a place higher in terms of points though with Invitational driver Meisner taking the win.
Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium will host the second event of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, rounds four, five and six, on Friday, 26th July, and Saturday, 27th July. In the meantime, Double R Racing will be back in FIA Formula 3 European Championship action next weekend, 1st/2nd June, at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Double R Racing