2013 FIA F3 European Championship, Round 5 – Race Report

2013 FIA F3 European Championship, Round 5, Silverstone, Great Britain, April 12th/14th 2013
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas

Weather:
Cold, damp, cloudy.

Race Report – Round 5 (Race 2):
After a brief moment or two of sunshine, the suggestion that spring might have finally sprung at Silverstone this afternoon was very swiftly scuppered, as were the hopes of anyone who thought they could stop Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) on his way to victory in the second of three FIA European F3 races this weekend. He was chased home by Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) and Lucas Auer, also of Prema.

However, at the start there was trouble when Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing) tangled before they’d even crossed the starting line. With Giovinazzi stranded in the middle of the grid, and Serralles’ car on the kerbs with a wheel pointing at the sky, there was nothing for it but to scramble the Safety Car while the marshals retrieved the wreckage.

At the front Rosenqvist had made a good start to lead from Harry Tincknell (Carlin), the latter making a very tardy getaway. In 3rd was William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport), while 4th was Mans Grenhagen (Van Amersfoort Racing), Nicholas Latifi (Carlin), Sven Müller (ma-con), Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational), Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsport), Marciello and Jordan King (Carlin).

In 11th was Auer, ahead of Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport), Michael Lewis (kfzteile24 Mucke Motorsport), Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing), Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport), Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam), Sean Gelael (Double R Racing), Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mucke Motorsport) and Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam).

21st was Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing), from Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mucke Motorsport), Gary Thompson (Romeo Ferraris), Andre Rudersdorf (ma-con) and Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing).

With the field now contained, the Safety Car led them in convoy through the pitlane as the clean-up work went on. It took three laps before the race could go live again, and for a moment it looked as if we might be straight back to Safety Car conditions when Mueller managed to crash into Latifi, spin himself off and collect Grenhagen as well before they even crossed the line for the actual restart. Luckily there was no blockage, and the race stayed live though Mueller was out on the spot and Grenhagen would limp to the pits to retire.

The main beneficiary of the mayhem was probably Lynn, the Englishman gaining five places at the restart, while also in the pack, Marciello stole 6th from King, and van de Laar went through to claim 10th from Lewis. The person to come out of the restart worst was Rosenqvist, the erstwhile leader. He lost out to both Tincknell and Buller, having forgotten what had been said in the drivers’ briefing about where the race would restart from. There would be some work to do if was going to be forgiven by his team for that!

Having started his charge through the order, Marciello set the first fastest lap of the race as he set about Blomqvist with enthusiasm. Blomqvist tried to fight back, while Hill clung onto his rear wing for dear life, probably gaining some useful tips as he did so. Lynn was also still on the move and was up to 11th, a gain of 9 places since the race started.

While the officials announced that Muller’s part in the restart was under investigation, Rosenqvist found his way past Buller to loom large on the Carlin driver’s shoulder. As rain started to spot the track, there was another sort out in the middle of the pack, which saw Auer leapfrog to 7th, while Blomqvist suddenly had his hands full with Marciello, probably to the relief of Buller who clearly just wanted Blomqvist to leave him alone!

While Lynn set a new fastest lap as he continued to scythe through the field, Tincknell continued to manfully try and keep Rosenqvist at bay, and Auer battled his way past Hill for 6th. A lap later Rosenqvist finally forced his way past Tincknell, although he had to take to the grass to do it. It was a brave move, but I suppose having given the lead away he didn’t feel he had any alternative!

With just over 10 minutes of the race left now, Rosenqvist started to open a gap over Tincknell, while behind them it was all kicking off again. Lynn barged by Derani for 9th, and about the same time Buller dropped a wheel on the kerbs and spun himself out of the battle, losing six places before he could get going again. That let Marciello up to 3rd and assisted Auer on his way past Blomqvist. Buller’s misery was compounded when Derani also nipped through, dumping him to 10th.

He might have taken some satisfaction from seeing what happened next as Derani suddenly found himself at the mercy of Lynn, who came up hard and fast in his mirrors and simply bundled the Brazilian out of the way to go 7th. The sheer speed of the Prema cars takes some believing, though Tincknell was left in no doubt about it as he got a first-hand demonstration when Marciello and Auer bought caught up with him.

What seemed to be a damaged floor was doing nothing to help Tincknell, and it wasn’t long before both the Italian cars were through, leaving a frustrated Englishman in their wake. He now had Blomqvist and Hill to deal with, and as if that were not bad enough, Lynn was also catching them. There wasn’t much of the race left to run now, but it was going to feel like a very long way to the flag for the Carlin driver.

He was saved by Hill deciding to take a long, hard look at Blomqvist for 5th, which meant that Blomqvist had to worry about what was happening behind him, rather than looking ahead. Hill’s effort was a brave one, but he couldn’t quite make it stick, especially with Lynn looming in his mirrors. He was disappointed though he cannot have been surprised when Lynn went for it on the final lap and squeezed through at the Complex, within sight of the flag.

And so Rosenqvist claimed the victory, despite making it complicated for himself. Marciello and Auer were 2nd and 3rd, from Tincknell, Blomqvist, Lynn, Hill, Derani, Buller and Cheever. Lewis was 11th, ahead of van de Laar, Wolf, Gilbert, Goddard, Gelael, Rudersdorf, Nissany, Calderon and Zeller. 21st was Grenhagen.

 

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