CHILTON TAKES PODIUM FOR HITECH Max Chilton took his second podium finish for Hitech Racing in round eight of the British Formula 3 International Series at Rockingham on Monday. The Buckingham-based team narrowly lost out on a second...
CHILTON TAKES PODIUM FOR HITECH
Max Chilton took his second podium finish for Hitech Racing in round eight of the British Formula 3 International Series at Rockingham on Monday. The Buckingham-based team narrowly lost out on a second podium in race one when Chilton finished fourth.
"The race went really well," said Max. "I didn't really have any pressure which is always a plus as you can focus better and in the greasy conditions like we've had today, you've really got to focus. At the start I could have gone for the lead but I thought I was going to be pinned against the wall so I decided to settle for third and that was pretty much it for the rest of the race."
Austrian Walter Grubmuller made two great starts from his sixth and 17th grid positions to take ninth and 13th at the flag.
"The start for race one was excellent," said Walter. "I was right up to fourth, but I made a couple of mistakes in the laps that followed which dropped me down to ninth. The last few laps were really slippery and it was simply a case of trying to keep it on the track."
Max started race one from his second successive pole position and made a good start at the lights. However as the pack entered the first corner, he had to give way to eventual race winner Atte Mustonen who nipped through to take the lead.
The next lap Max lost second place to Jaime Alguersuari at Deene hairpin with his team-mate Grubmuller just behind him in fourth. Over the course of the next few laps, Walter dropped down the order, while Max came under increasing pressure from Marcus Ericsson.
At half distance Walter was enjoying a three-way battle with Croft race winner Brendon Hartley and Nick Tandy and Ericsson finally found a way past Max at Deene. The manoeuvre pushed Max wide and under braking he was forced to take avoiding action and went straight on onto the oval circuit.
"I didn't get a great start as I was on the dirty side of the track, said Max. "I didn't have a very good first few laps either. Then Ericsson went down the inside of me on the entry to the hairpin and I started locking up so I ended up going onto the oval."
Max rejoined the track in fourth place behind Ericsson but as the rain began to fall again the track conditions began to deteriorate, sending cars spinning off. With Walter holding off a determined challenge from Hartley, Max outbraked himself on the slippery surface at Deene and was sent back up onto the oval. He rejoined again in fourth which he held to the flag.
The second race was held on a drier track and another superb start from both drivers enabled them to gain places on the run up to Turn One. The stalled car of Henry Arundel on the grid caused the safety car to be deployed and at the restart Walter was soon making up ground.
With Max in a comfortable third place and briefly posting the fastest lap, Walter was enjoying another fine run through the field. The teenager quickly learnt from his first race experiences and he was able to make several great overtaking passes at Deene corner.
For several laps he ran nose-to-tail with series leader Sergio Perez until the Mexican ran wide and onto the oval circuit. When he rejoined the track he had extended his lead leaving Walter to close down the advantage again.
This he did and a last-lap attack nearly paid off for Walter, but unfortunately he just ran out of time.
"In the second race I made a decent start and managed to make up a place, said Walter. "Some of the guys were a bit defensive but fair and I managed to make up a few places on the entry to the hairpin. I was having a good battle with Perez and was having a look at passing him when he went straight on onto the oval.
"When he rejoined, he had a much bigger advantage and I had to do it all over again. On the very last lap, I tried pretty much everywhere to get him, but just couldn't get past. Another lap though and I think I could have had him."
The 22-round series resumes for rounds nine and ten at Snetterton over the weekend of June 7/8.