CALADO MASTERS SLIPPERY SILVERSTONE James Calado made the best of the treacherous track conditions in a shower-hit 22nd round of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday), to snatch victory...
CALADO MASTERS SLIPPERY SILVERSTONE
James Calado made the best of the treacherous track conditions in a shower-hit 22nd round of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday), to snatch victory from the clutches of championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne. Their Carlin team-mate Lucas Foresti was third to claim his maiden British F3 podium, and Mexican newcomer Juan Carlos Sistos triumphed in the National class for Motul Team West-Tec.
Vergne's hopes of recording his 12th win of the season and edging even closer towards the championship title took a knock at the start of the 16-lap race, the pole man failing to get away cleanly and handing the advantage to Foresti. Jean-Eric recovered quickly to seize the lead from his team-mate on the opening lap.
There was worse to come for the Frenchman in the dual forms of a heavy shower on lap three and the looming presence in his mirrors of Calado, who had had to find a way past both Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Foresti after starting fourth on the grid. By lap six Calado was locked on to Vergne's tail as both Carlin cars scrabbled for grip in the worsening conditions.
A slip from Jean-Eric at Brooklands on the eighth lap put paid to his hopes of another win and Calado swept through. "I'm sure it was as exciting for the spectators as it was for me," said James. "My heart was racing at about 300mph while I was side by side with Jean-Eric. It was incredible and scary, but we never touched and it was fair racing. I took advantage of JEV making a mistake; the conditions were treacherous and slippy and it's great to win in such tricky conditions."
Added Vergne: "Before it started raining it was really good and I was pulling away. Then it rained and James was much quicker. It was a good race side by side for two laps but then he got past me. Maybe it's because he is English, the reason he was quicker than me in the rain on slick tyres!"
Calado crossed the line 7.1s ahead of Vergne, with Foresti a delighted third to collect his maiden podium. Adriano Buzaid was fourth to make it a Carlin 1-2-3-4 for the second weekend in succession.
Several runners opted to pit for grooved Cooper tyres when the heavens opened but it proved the wrong call - those who stayed on track on slicks slithered to the top nine places. Felipe Nasr was the leading Mercedes finisher in fifth in the Raikkonen Robertson car, ahead of Svendsen-Cook, Carlos Huertas and Fortec duo Daniel McKenzie and Oli Webb. Daisuke Nakajima was the leading wet-tyred runner in 10th.
The intriguing three-car battle for National class honours might have gone the way of Menasheh Idafar had the T-Sport man not opted to pit for wet tyres. West-Tec man Sistos held his nerve on slicks to take a hard-fought debut class win ahead of James Cole, who started from pit lane on slicks after opting for wets on the grid, then pitted again to refit the wets. Idafar was third in class after dropping it on the penultimate lap.
Sistos was delighted with his win: "I am really happy. We weren't that good in qualifying but the conditions in the race helped us. The team did a great job."
Carlos Huertas will start tomorrow's pit-stopping sprint race from the pole after Calado picked number seven from the podium hat.