MIXED SILVERSTONE HOMECOMING FOR GP3 STAR SMITH GP3 Series racer Dean Smith had a mixed homecoming at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th July, but did manage to conclude the event inside the championship top 10 thanks to...
MIXED SILVERSTONE HOMECOMING FOR GP3 STAR SMITH
GP3 Series racer Dean Smith had a mixed homecoming at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th July, but did manage to conclude the event inside the championship top 10 thanks to a solid top six finish in the first of the two races in sunny Northamptonshire.
Marking the only British round of the season for GP3 -- running, as usual, in support of the FIA Formula One World Championship -- the event was a bittersweet affair for the 22-year-old as a second row start in Sunday's encounter couldn't be capitalised on for reasons out of his control.
Wolverhampton-based Dean, who is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, raced strongly during the first outing on Saturday afternoon to come through well from ninth on the grid into a top six finish to record some much-needed championship points.
Ahead of Sunday morning's race though, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner unfortunately had some problems to contend with including a brake issue and a possible puncture on his first lap out of the pits.
The latter led to his front tyres being changed on the grid but as his car was still on the jacks inside the three-minute cut-off ahead of the formation lap, he would eventually be handed a stop-go penalty in the race -- ruining his chances of a points finish.
As things stood at the beginning of race two, Dean looked in great shape to challenge for his first GP3 podium when a good getaway from third on the grid enabled him to battle wheel-to-wheel over second place with slow-starting pole-sitter Mirko Bortolotti.
Although Dean's front tyres weren't up to temperature due to the late change, meaning he ran slightly wide on the outside at Copse Corner, he wasn't helped either by Bortolotti leaning on him through the flat-out turn. Even so, the BRDC Superstar did a fantastic job to hold on to third but contact to the rear of his car from Alexander Rossi at Chapel forced Dean off the track.
Recovering in eighth place, he held position but on lap six race officials confirmed the 10 second stop-go penalty for the time infringement on the grid. Dean served the penalty at the end of lap eight and therefore eventually finished the race in 22nd position.
"It's been a disappointing weekend but the positive thing is we had good pace", said Dean, "Sixth in the first race was good and meant we started third for the second one so it all looked positive for a possible podium fight. On the way to the grid though we thought there was a puncture so the front tyres were changed, but we missed the cut-off and ended up with the stop-go penalty.
"At the start I got away well but the front tyres were cold so I ran slightly wide at Copse and I also had a soft brake pedal as we'd had a brake line issue too. (Mirko) Bortolotti pushed me wide through Copse but I held third and then (Alexander) Rossi just smashed into the side of me at Chapel and forced me off which was really unnecessary. It's a shame but now I'm looking forward to Germany."
There are just two weeks to wait until the next instalment of GP3 Series action with rounds nine and 10 of the 2010 season supporting the FIA Formula One World Championship's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim over the weekend 24th/25th July -- Dean's first ever visit to the 2.8-mile circuit.
-source: dean smith