This time at Silverstone it was Brendon Hartley (Carlin Motorsport) who ended the session on pole, with team-mate Oliver Turvey having to settle for second place. Third was Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing). In the National Class Stefan Wilson (Fluid...
This time at Silverstone it was Brendon Hartley (Carlin Motorsport) who ended the session on pole, with team-mate Oliver Turvey having to settle for second place. Third was Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing). In the National Class Stefan Wilson (Fluid Motorsport) again came out on top, ahead of Jay Bridger (Fluid Motorsport) and Salman Al Khalifa (T-Sport). Oliver Oakes (Eurotek) was the only runner in the Invitation Class so could reasonably be said to be on class pole.
At least this afternoon when the session started there was a general rush for the track, unlike in the morning, and the greater part of the field went out at once. It didn't take long for Marcus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsport) to hit the front, and he was quickly joined there by Sergio Perez (T-Sport), while John Martin's recent run of form seemed to be continuing, the Double R Racing driver seeming to have suddenly got the hang of this F3 thing in recent weeks. A lap later and Martin was 2nd ahead of Henry Arundel (Double R Racing), another one beginning to find his feet after a somewhat rocky start to the season. Ericsson seemed to be comfortably ahead, with a 0.911 second advantage at this stage, but there was still plenty of time for the others to catch up. After battery problems side-lined him in session 1, Michael Devaney (Ultimate Motorsport) was keen to make up ground, and quickly slotted into 7th, but was obviously hoping for more.
Atte Mustonen (Double R Racing) was next to put in a fast lap, but it wasn't good enough to dislodge Ericsson. Instead he was 2nd. Meanwhile, with the Carlin Motorsport boys still hiding in pits, Perez snatched 5th from Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Racing), and his team-mate Max Chilton. The National Class was beginning to look as if it would go the way of Bridger again, as he slotted in ahead of Devaney, but both Steven Guerrero (T- Sport) and Kristjan Einar (Carlin Motorsport) looked as if they might be able to challenge for it at this stage.
Actually, this time the session went quiet about halfway through, when the top ten (with the exception of Bridger) all dived into the pits for fresh tyres. The order at this point was Ericsson, from Mustonen, Martin, Devaney, Arundel, Perez, Grubmuller, Chilton, Bridger and Major. That left the way clear for Bridger to go 3rd overall, at least for the time being. That lasted until Ricardo Teixeira (Ultimate Motorsport) came round to claim an unexpected 3rd. He didn't get to keep it for long. Perez grabbed 2nd which pushed everyone down a place, and then Sam Abay (Carlin Motorsport) put in his first flying lap and snatched 2nd from the Mexican.
It seemed, however, that Ericsson was still in control. At least it did until Perez came round again, and then he was on pole, and Ericsson started a slightly unexpected slide down the order apparently caused largely by the fact that there wasn't a lot of life left in his Avons.
The next change came when Philip Major (Fortec Motorsport) showed that maybe he too has learned something this season, and he rocketed up to 5th. The top three at this point was occupied by Perez, Ericsson and Abay but the remaining three Carlin drivers had now ventured out and would be expected to show up on the leader board any time soon. The National Class was undergoing a bit of a change again now, with Al Khalifa moving up the order to 2nd, but he was still a long way off Bridger and his apparent pace which meant he was 7th overall.
With Abay next to challenge for pole (but ending up 2nd) it was still a case of waiting to see what the others could do. Turvey finally showed his hand and went 4th, but then got displaced by Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) while Hartley's best effort so far netted him 18th, not quite what the Kiwi was after. A further effort on Tandy's behalf and he was 8th, but again you felt there might be more to come from the late arrivals at the ball. Turvey grabbed pole at the same time as Hywel Lloyd (C F Motorsport) went 3rd in the National Class. However, given that the weather was cooler than it had been in the morning, and the pole position time was slower, there was possibly more to come.
Further change occurred when Martin leapt back up to 3rd, and Hartley progressed to 10th just behind Chilton. Hartley dug deep and leapfrogged everyone but Turvey to go 2nd. It could not have been closer, with Hartley 0.001 second off Turvey, and Perez is 0.003 seconds slower. And then Tandy moved ahead. Hartley wasn't having it and retaliated, moving back into 2nd place, while Wilson edged Bridger out of National Class pole. Perez gave up and pitted, leaving those with more unworn rubber to fight it out for positions. The clouds thinned slightly and the sun came back out, but it didn't seem to hamper the Antipodean contingent, as Abay improved to go 5th., while Ericsson slid down the order to 8th, and Hartley claimed pole with the first 1.14 of the day, a time of 1.14:906.
It all went a bit quiet after that, although Ericsson managed to claw back a place, while Mustonen got the black and white flag for repeatedly running wide at Copse, only to fall off. Meanwhile, Turvey went faster but stayed 3rd, while Ericsson improved to 4th in the closing minutes and a last ditch effort from Turvey was enough to secure 2nd.
And so Hartley claimed the second Carlin pole of the day from Turvey, Tandy, Ericsson, Perez, Abay, Martin, Alguersuari, Mustonen and Major. In 11th was Chilton, from Invitation Class runner Oakes, Grubmuller, Devaney, Arundel, Teixeira, Wilson on National Class pole, Jackson, Clemente de Faria Jr. (Double R Racing) and Bridger. Al Khalifa was 3rd in class and 21st overall, ahead of Guerrero, Lloyd, Einar, Craig Reiff (Nexa Racing) and Jonathan Legris (Litespeed), the latter at least managing a respectable number of laps this time out, the gearbox issues seemingly fixed.
Weather: Warm, dry, slightly overcast.