Perez Storms through to Win from 14th on Grid Sergio Perez won arguably the best race of the year so far with a brilliant drive from 14th on the grid to take the chequered flag 4.2 seconds ahead of Brendon Hartley and Oliver Turvey. Hywel ...
Perez Storms through to Win from 14th on Grid
Sergio Perez won arguably the best race of the year so far with a brilliant drive from 14th on the grid to take the chequered flag 4.2 seconds ahead of Brendon Hartley and Oliver Turvey. Hywel Lloyd became the first driver to break Andy Meyrick's strangle hold on the National Class, taking a win after his fellow Welshman spun out of the race.
With a dry track all of the 28 cars wore Avon slick tyres for the first time since free practice. Matteo Chinosi was at the head of the field as the lights went out to start the race. Third place Sam Abay got a great start to take the lead as the field sped towards the first corner, with Max Chilton dropping back. Sebastian Hohenthal had also made a great start but clipped the rear of Atte Mustonen's Double R Racing Dallara, eliminating both cars and taking Chilton with them. Jay Bridger was also an early casulaty when he hit the stationary Chilton.
At the end of the opening lap Abay was leading by nearly a second from Jaime Alguersuari, the Red Bull driver storming up the field from 6th, with Chinosi and Marcus Ericsson, the young Swede also making good progress from 10th.
On the second lap the casualties continued as Nick Tandy came into the pits and Michael Devaney was speared off the track after his Ultimate Mygale was tagged coming into Parabolica. The Irishmans car rolled once and came to a halt on its wheels but that was Devaney's race run.
Abay continued to pull away from the chasing pack as Chinosi passed Alguersuari for 2nd place, with Guerrieri passing Ericsson for 4th place. Behind the leaders Sergio Perez was making rapid progress through the field and by lap 3 was up to 6th and then two laps later was 3rd as he passed Ericsson and Guerrieri in short order and then benefitted when Chinosi ran wide at the Parabolica to drop down the order.
Lap six saw Perez take the lead, who was followed by Guerrieri as the Argentine swept past Alguersuari and then Abay at Ascari, with the Australian losing out to his Carlin teammate at the next corner to drop three places on the lap.
Disaster struck for Andy Meyrick when his was seen spinning off the circuit backwards on the exit of Ascari and into retirement and with it his perfect run of race wins.
Perez started to edge away from Guerrieri as Brendon Hartley caught and passed Oliver Turvey for fourth to start challenging his Red Bull team mate Alguersuari. On lap 14 the Spaniard passed Guerrieri for second but the Argentine driver fought back to regain the place. But as the pair got closer together Alguersuari tagged the back of the Ultimate Mygale, spinning them both into the gravel with the Red Bull Dallara regaining the track while the Ultimate Mygale went into retirement, just as the rain started to fall again.
Hartley was now second, with Turvey in third but the Carlin pair were unable to mount any sort of challenge to Perez before the chequered flag. Behind the leading trio Walter Grubmuller was enjoying his best race of the season so far, closing on Turvey but also holding off the charging John Martin, the Australian making up two places on the final two laps. Sam Abay and Marcus Ericsson crossed the line side by side, with the Australian claiming 6th place.
Philip Major scored his first British F3 championship points crossing the line in 9th overall behind Invitation Class winner Matteo Chinosi. Jaime Alguersuari was given a 25-second penalty for hitting Esteban Guerrieri, dropping his down to 12th overall and 9th in the International Class, while the final championship point went to Viktor Jensen. Guerrieri was classified in 16th overall but claimed the point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
In the National Class Hywel Lloyd claimed his first win after overtaking Stefan Wilson two laps from home. Wilson was struggling with his Fluid Dallara as the track started to get wetter as the rain came down, while Lloyd took advantage of the conditions to the chequered flag. Craig Reiff was the final National Class runner and he took his first British F3 podium in only his 5th car race.
Perez jumped for joy on the podium and now leads the championship by 13 points from Oliver Turvey and 25 points in front of Brendon Hartley. Round 6 of the 2008 British F3 International Series is due to start at 15:45 (14:45 BST).