Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) snatched the British Formula 3 victory from Brendon Hartley (Carlin Motorsport) at Silverstone today, a lap from the end of the race after harrying the Kiwi from the start. Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson (Fortec ...
Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) snatched the British Formula 3 victory from Brendon Hartley (Carlin Motorsport) at Silverstone today, a lap from the end of the race after harrying the Kiwi from the start. Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsport) could only maintain a watching brief and hope for an error from the pair in front. In the National Class Stefan Wilson (Fluid Motorsport) came home ahead of his team-mate Jay Bridger, claiming his third win of the season. Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing) was third in class.
At the start of the race it looked as if Turvey would not win, despite starting from pole. An issue with the clutch saw him make a terrible start, and Hartley, needless to say, didn't need asking twice. He surged ahead as they tore down towards Copse, and almost immediately started to build up a gap to the chasing pack while Turvey held off Ericsson and Sergio Perez (T- Sport) for second, though the Mexican's primary interest was most likely in holding off Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) to try and regain the series lead from the Spaniard who started the race one point ahead and who was now just behind Perez on the road. Meanwhile, Wilson was leading Bridger for the National Class, while further back Ricardo Teixeira (Ultimate Motorsport) had clashed with Jonathan Legris (Litespeed F3) and the latter was now out of the race. At least some of the Ultimate drivers were doing better, with Michael Devaney up tp 14th despite starting a long way back in 20th after an awful qualifying session.
While all that was going on, Hartley set about trying to build a cushion for himself, and set the first of the fastest laps of the race in his efforts to get away from Turvey, while in the National Class Wilson had a useful buffer between himself and Bridger after Philip Major (Fortec Motorsport) got between the two of them. The front was where it was all happening though, with Turvey pushing hard now, and Alguersuari swarming all over the back of Perez. Turvey in particular was looking very quick although he didn't seem to be able to string it together across all three sectors. It didn't stop him setting a new fastest lap though. The race was now starting to look somewhat processional, although back in 14th, Devaney was lining up Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Motorsport) and looked likely to get through before long.
It was as well there was something to look at because the front runners were showing no sign of changing places, so it was as well that Bridger was able to get ahead of Major and set off after Wilson again. Despite the procession at the front, Devaney grabbed 13th from Grubmuller as they went into Copse one more time, although this time it didn't actually stick. At the front it was now Ericsson's turn to put the pressure on, setting a fastest lap and gaining on Turvey though not by much. Turvey responded with a new fastest lap and started to try and reel Hartley back in. However, with the gap at a reasonably steady 0.6 seconds at this point, it did appear that Hartley might just have matters under control.
Something that wasn't under control was the Devaney/Grubmuller battle, which was still raging. In fact the pair of them were shown the black and white driving standards flag for repeatedly getting all four wheels onto the run off area at Copse while they fought it out. It all calmed down when Devaney finally found his way past the Austrian so at that stage Alguersuari started doing the same thing and was duly also shown the flag. At the front, however, Turvey was now catching Hartley again, although he kept losing ground round the back of the circuit. Of course catching another F3 car is one thing, passing it quite another given that you will then lose grip because you're then running in dirty air. Mind you, no one seemed to have told Devaney about that effect. He'd now forced his way past Alistair Jackson (Ultimate Motorsport) and was now in pursuit of Henry Arundel (Double R Racing) and gaining rapidly on the rookie. It was just as well that his day seemed to be improving, as Teixeira was dropping down the order like a stone and would shortly pull into the pits and out of the race.
Most attention was now fixed on the leaders though. Suddenly Turvey was right with Hartley, the pair of them running nose to tail at the head of the pack with Ericsson a distant 3rd. Again Hartley was able to respond and opened up the gap once more, but he seemed to be struggling with the car, so you had to wonder if he could hang on for the rest of the race.
In the National Class, Salman Al Khalifa (T-Sport) was busy passing Craig Reiff (Nexa Racing), the inexperienced youngster proving unable to hold the Bahraini off while a little ahead of him Major was trying to battle with Bridger. You had to wonder why, given that Major is supposedly an International Class runner.And all the while the leaders were gaining on the National Class runners. It certainly looked as if they would lap a number of them before the end of the race, and with Turvey again very close to Hartley, it might even play a part in the end result if they didn't all pay close attention to the flag signals. At least the first backmarker that Hartley and Turvey were going to encounter would be Kristjan Einar, and being a Carlin Motorsport driver himself, the Icelander could probably be relied on to not impede the pair or for that matter Ericsson, and the rest. Perez was still 4th and had managed to shake Alguersuari off, at least in part because Alguersuari now had John Martin (Double R Racing) with him. Behind them Atte Mustonen (Double R Racing) was also in a little trouble, being harassed by Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing), Sam Abay (Carlin Motorsport) and Max Chilton (Hitech Racing).
Hartley once more opened out a bit of a gap, and then they were with Einar. To his credit, Einar behaved impeccably and got out of the way, running close to the pit wall to let them through. That was more than Jackson was prepared to do for the National Class front-runners, with Wilson now falling into the clutches of Bridger, because the pair of them were bottled up behind Jackson, who was as ever going nowhere.
Now they were past Einar, the leaders were nose to tail again and Turvey tucked himself under the rear wing of Hartley's Dallara, waiting for his chance. It finally came on the last but one lap, when Hartley made a mistake going through Copse, and Turvey took his chance, snatching the lead from his teammate and bring it home to another victory, that put him two points off the championship leader Perez and one point behind Alguersuari. Hartley was a deeply disappointed 2nd from Ericsson, Perez, Alguersuari, Martin, Chilton, Abay, Tandy and Mustonen (who lost out badly in the closing laps).
11th (and just out of the points despite a sterling effort) was Devaney, who led home Arundel, Grubmuller, Jackson, National Class winner Wilson, Major, Bridger, Lloyd, Steven Guerrero (T-Sport) and Clemente de Faria Jr, (Double R Racing). Al Khalifa was 21st, ahead of Invitation Class runner Oliver Oakes (Eurotek Motorsport), Reiff and Einar.
The fastest laps of the race went to Turvey and Wilson.
Weather: Dry, sunny.