BEST RESULT OF SEASON NOT QUITE ENOUGH FOR SERIES TOP THREE
British racer Will Bratt finished a mere 13 points behind the coveted top three in the FIA Formula 2 Championship driver standings at Valencia on Sunday, 19th September, after a supreme effort on the final weekend of the season.
Heading into round 18 at the Spanish track a mere five points adrift of third place following a superb drive to the runner-up spot during Saturday's opening encounter, the Banbury-based 22-year-old had high hopes for a final flourish in race two.
His plans were largely scuppered during qualifying when his fastest lap utilising the power increase 'boost' facility was baulked, meaning Will would end the session an uncharacteristic 15th quickest albeit still only nine 10ths of a second away from pole position.
At the start of the race he made good initial progress but before he was able to capitalise fully his car was clipped on the opening lap by Benjamin Lariche as the latter tried to avoid Nicola De Marco. The contact launched Will into the air momentarily, his car dramatically lifting onto two wheels, before thudding back down on the track remarkably undamaged.
Clearly a major set-back, Will dropped to the tail of the 18 car field but fought his way back through to an eventual finish of 15th position on a track notorious for a lack of overtaking opportunities -- not the way the 2009 Euroseries 3000 Champion wanted to conclude his campaign but there was little he could do about that.
"We made a really good start to the weekend and to be so close to a first win in the opening race was really satisfying, it's just a shame we couldn't be in the fight at the front again in race two", he said, "Qualifying down in 15th set the scene really, I got blocked on my quickest lap using the boost so that really ruined any chance of finishing in the championship top three which was the target.
"In the race itself, the contact from (Benjamin) Lariche launched my car pretty dramatically into the air but I was surprised there was no real damage when it landed. There was no way back from there, I got held-up behind some slower cars as Valencia's such a tough track to pass on."
Will added: "Overall it's not been the season we wanted but the racing has been fantastic. I'd like to thank the sponsors who made the season possible -- Whirlpool, Tangerois, Marrakech Grand Prix and especially Michelangelo Search."
Now planning to move on from F2, Will has one eye on the FIA Formula One World Championship supporting GP2 Series -- having already sampled GP2 machinery over the past couple of years. He is also investigating opportunities across the other side of the Atlantic in the USA as he strives to carve out a fully professional career in single-seater racing.