FASTEST LAP SMALL CONSOLATION FOR BIRD AFTER DISASTROUS DAY AT BRANDS Sam Bird (20, Claygate) suffered a disappointing weekend at his "home" track, Brands Hatch, today, Sunday July 15, the only consolation being a championship point for the ...
FASTEST LAP SMALL CONSOLATION FOR BIRD AFTER DISASTROUS DAY AT BRANDS
Sam Bird (20, Claygate) suffered a disappointing weekend at his "home" track, Brands Hatch, today, Sunday July 15, the only consolation being a championship point for the fastest lap in race 2.
Qualifying 4th and 3rd on the grids for the two races, BP Ultimate driver Bird was confident of a good points haul "I am very comfortable with the qualifying positions" he said on Saturday. "Of course a pole position would have been good, but I love this circuit and feel confident that I can make up a place or two and certainly challenge for podium finishes in both races". Sam has had six podium visits on the trot.
In race one, Sam made his usual blistering start and went into the first corner in 2nd place, sitting very comfortably behind the race leader, Asmer. However, he didn't appear the second time round and it transpired that his clutch had given up on him at Surtees "Mechanical failures are quite rare in Formula 3" said Sam "and it's certainly nothing you can check for -- the car felt very good yesterday and on the warm up lap; and the failure was a complete shock to the whole team. That's motor racing I guess, and I'll just have to have a good second race".
The Carlin Motorsport team worked hard to make the car ready for race two. Sam lined up 3rd on the grid, with a huge field behind him taking a while to get into grid positions; holding the car on the clutch for some time on the sloping Brands Hatch start. The point came when it was "creep" or stall, and Sam found himself just creeping over his grid line a fraction of a second before the lights went out. He then made a great start, putting himself into the lead and pulling away from the rest of the pack by several seconds. However, lady luck was not with him and his problem had been noted by officials who deemed him to have "jumped the start", giving him a drive-through penalty. This put Sam way back in the pack, but he drove through the field cleanly and forcefully, making up many places to finish 11th; out of the points but gaining a point for the fastest lap.
"I am a bit gutted" said Sam afterwards "but it was a fair decision, and although I couldn't help it, the officials have to penalise this sort of thing. It's been a bad day at the office, but all I can do is put it behind me and move onwards and upwards. I'm really looking forward to Spa on July 29".
The glitch has put Sam down to 3rd place in the championship, just 5 points behind team mate Maro Engel.