While it was not the local hero to take the Race 2 win at Brands Hatch, it was still the powerhouse team on the top step of the European F3 podium; this time it was Raffaele Marciello.
At Brands Hatch this afternoon Raffaele Marciello had his revenge on Prema Powerteam team-mate Alex Lynn after his defeat at the Englishman’s hands this morning. In 3rd place, making it a Prema whitewash, was Lucas Auer, the Austrian claiming his second podium of the weekend, though unable to keep pace with the leading two.
With Michael Lewis (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) already hors de combat after his massive accident on Friday, we were down another one after the stewards handed Mans Grenhagen (Van Amersfoort Racing) a one race ban. It had started as a penalty for overtaking under yellow flags. However, the stewards (who are permanent in this series) took a look at his record to date in the series, including seven separate visits to see them at Hockenheim, and decided that the best way to get his attention would be with a more severe penalty. And so there were 27.
As the lights went out, Marciello got the drop on Lynn, proving he had learned from his mistake in Race One. He edged alongside as they headed for Paddock Hill Bend and this time was able to make the most of the advantage of starting second. And that was pretty much it for the battle for the lead.
Behind them the midfield got a bit chaotic as they headed up through Druids, but apart from Nicholas Latifi (Carlin), everyone seemed to come through unscathed. Latifi headed for the pit lane to get a new nose, and the rest of the pack scrabbled for purchase but then settled down in formation. Latifi was probably suffering payback for hitting Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport) in the melee in Race One.
Near the back Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Michela Cerutti (Romeo Ferraris) were having a bit of a scrap, and Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport) stole 14th from Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing). The pair of them had Serralles right behind them, and it wasn’t that big a surprise when he didn’t stay there for long, squeezing Giovinazzi out for 15th a lap later.
Elsewhere Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam) was being harassed by Jordan King (Carlin), but the Englishman couldn’t quite do it. Further up the order in 3rd Auer was being harassed by his old friend Sven Müller (ma-con), the latter edging very close, but again the nature of the Indy circuit was sufficient to ensure that nothing at all happened.
And it was that nature that saw Cheever building up a substantial traffic jam of Daniil Kvyat (Carlin), King, Wolf and Serralles. If they’d had a bit more space, it could have ended up getting quite messy, but instead they simply ran nose to tail for lap after lap. If further proof were needed that the Indy circuit is pretty pointless as a race track for cars of this ilk, it was the fact that no matter what he tried, Lynn couldn’t get on terms with Marciello, and in fact the Italian was 4.1 seconds by lap 16 and nothing could slow him.
Meanwhile Sean Gelael (Double R Racing) had a moment in the gravel but survived, though he was quite a long way back anyway. While that was going on, Serralles had dropped back a tad and was now providing his own “train” in the shape of Giovinazzi and Van der Laar, while a car’s length or two further back, Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport) was also holding up a group of others, proof that Fortec were off the pace this weekend. For Derani it was even worse, with Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Andre Rudersdorf (ma-con) all stacked up behind him. It was enough to allow Rudersdorf to take 21st from Goddard on lap 25, but that was the only change possible.
As the leaders started to catch up with the backmarkers, it looked briefly as if Lynn might be able to deal with his team-mate. Nissany was too busy battling his peers to pay attention to such minor details as waved blue flags, and he held Marciello up for six laps, infuriating the Italian to no end.
The fact that Nissany was apparently awarded a drive through penalty afterwards was some consolation, but it was bad practice and he won’t be done any favours by Marciello any time soon after what he did. He wasn’t the only offender, though he was by far the worst. However, elsewhere Harry Tincknell and Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsport) were having similar trouble with Zeller, though he did finally get the message and pulled out of the way.
In the closing stages, Cerutti and Calderon got locked into a bit of a scrap, and as the race wore down to its last few seconds, Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) had a go at taking 4th from Muller but again the track just does not facilitate overtaking and he had to abort the move.
And so, after a race that was just marginally more exciting than watching paint dry, Marciello took his sixth win of the season. “With a good start, you have won the race here. With my good start I was able to take the lead right away. For me, the biggest challenge in the race was Roy Nissany, who was in the way for six lamps while I tried to lap him. Because I had a huge margin over Alex, I was able to patiently wait for my chance but six laps is too much.”
Lynn was 2nd and relatively happy about it: “I have to admit that Raffaele’s start was better than mine. I am slightly disappointed not having won the race, after having started from pole position again. But tomorrow, I have another chance. Once again, the total performance of the Prema team was perfect in this race, which among others is down to the great co-operation among us as the drivers. We are helping out each other and pushing one another to achieve these great performances.”
Auer was third and very happy to be there: “My start was good and I slotted in behind Alex right away. Initially, I was able to keep up with him, but then I had to give in a little. After that, I was under pressure from behind, but I was able to come home safely.” Müller stayed 4th, from Rosenqvist, Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational), Tincknell, Hill, William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Jann Mardenborough (Carlin). 11th was Cheever, ahead of Kvyat, King, Wolf, Serralles, Giovinazzi, Van De Laar, Derani, Gilbert and Rudersdorf. In 21st was Goddard, Gelael, Nissany, Zeller, Calderon, Cerruti and Latifi.
No surprise then that Marciello set the fastest lap of the race.
Weather: Cool, sunny.