2013 FIA F3 European Championship, Round 4, Silverstone, Great Britain, April 12th/14th 2013
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Cold, damp, cloudy.
Race Report – Round 4 (Race 1):
At Silverstone this morning it was Harry Tincknell (Carlin) who proved the class of the field with a lights to flag win, though not for want of trying on the part of Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam), the latter challenging the winner repeatedly though not quite managing to find a way past. Third place went to Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), the Swede also having a strong race, though he couldn’t quite get on the case of the other two.
At the start, Tincknell made no mistake and powered into the lead, Lynn and Rosenqvist staying with him into the first corner. Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi (Carlin), under the watchful eye of Anthony Hamilton, was up to 5th just ahead of William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport). It was some consolation to the T-Sport boys, as their other car, in the hands of Richard “Spike” Goddard, which had started back in 18th, was now off the track and causing waved yellows.
While Lynn powered round in pursuit of the leader, netting himself an early fastest lap of the race, his team mate from last year, Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport), was up to 12th having made a stunning start that helped him gain six places on the first lap.
Most people were too busy watching the front of the field though, where Lynn was savaging the rear end of Tincknell’s Dallara in an effort to get past. Rosenqvist had an armchair view of the action though he didn’t seem too keen to get involved, and was sitting back a little, just in case. He had Latifi and Buller on his tail too which wasn’t helping.
Meanwhile, Jordan King (Carlin) had got the drop on Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) while Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing) had fallen right back down the order. This helped Serralles who was now 11th, having found his way past Sven Müller (ma-con) and was showing no sign of stopping at that with what was developing into a very impressive drive.
Back to the front, meanwhile, the pressure Lynn was putting on the leader wasn’t working in the way he’d hoped, and “Tinks” promptly responded with a new fastest lap of the race. At the other end of the order, Sean Gelael (Double R Racing) had managed to collect himself a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane, though it wouldn’t make a vast amount of difference to the Indonesian who seems to be somewhat on the slow side so far.
Up in third, Rosenqvist’s interesting morning was continuing as Latifi made a serious attempt to get through for a potential podium position. The Swede resisted, making full use of his four year’s of F3 experience to hold off the far less experienced teenager. Latifi kept right on trying though, including an attempt to get round the outside, though that too was doomed to failure.
That third placed battle was of great benefit to Lynn, in fact, enabling him to concentrate solely on Tincknell, as the two of them started to open up an increasing gap over Rosenqvist and Latifi. Both battles were absorbing to watch, though they were not the only points of interest. Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani (Fortec Motorsport) was also on the move, claiming 9th from Blomqvist, and followed almost immediately afterwards by Serralles, the Puerto Rican never one to miss a chance.
Also on the move was Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam), the youngster setting a new fastest lap as he charged up the order, eventually catching and passing Raffaele Marciello, also driving for Prema, to claim 6th place. Another man on the move, though further back, was Jann Mardenborough (Carlin) who had just got the drop on Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsport) for 13th. Hill then lost another place to Michael Lewis (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), and would eventually retire with damage to the aerodynamic package.
There was a sense of inevitability about what happened next. King decided to have a go at Marciello, who was trying to find a way back past Auer, the trio briefly running three abreast. The upshot was that Auer stayed ahead, and King fell back within the reach of Derani and Serralles, not something a rookie driver really wants to see reflected in their mirrors. The only thing saving the youngster was probably the fact that they were having to concentrate on each other and thus didn’t have much to spare for him.
At the halfway stage the top ten was Tincknell, from Lynn, Rosenqvist, Latifi, Buller, Auer, Marciello, King, Derani and Serralles Shortly after that Auer got ahead of Buller, which meant life was about to get a whole lot more complicated for Latifi in 4th as the Austrian caught up with him hand over fist. Meanwhile Serralles had nipped past Derani to snatch 9th from his own team-mate. The battle that started last year is still on at Fortec it seems…
The battle for the lead was also still raging, and it was clear that Lynn hadn’t given up on getting Tinks, he just couldn’t figure out how to do it. There was some lessons that could have been useful going on behind. Buller was now having to hold off Marciello, and both of them were employing some pretty aggressive driving that was highly entertaining to watch for anyone without a vested interest in either driver. If you did have any connection to them, it was just plain scary.
Also scary was Serralles and Derani, the Fortec pair now on the hunt for King and 8th place, Serralles finding a way through in the closing laps of the race, while shortly afterwards Derani also barged past the less experienced man. To add insult to injury, Blomqvist stole 10th from King on the last lap; however King wasn’t too disappointed afterwards. He knew he’d acquitted himself well against far more experienced drivers and he’d hung onto his position for as long as anyone could have expected him to.
Also towards the end of the race, Mardenborough lost a place to Lewis – and got a warning flag as well – and then found himself dropping even further back, when he got mugged by Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing), Mans Grenhagen (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). It was something of a baptism of fire for the youngster.
A last minute change also saw Auer snatch 4th place from Latifi not long before the end, the Austrian on a charge that also saw him claim the fastest lap of the race, which was perhaps not that surprising.
Later Tincknell was very pleased with his win: “I’m really happy for the team who worked so hard over the winter. I knew that with good knowledge of Silverstone and a strong car here we would be competitive, which we showed in qualifying. It was certainly a hard race, and Alex pushed me all the way but I felt really confident in the car and I’m really happy for the boys that we have a win at this early point in the season. In the opening laps it was still quite damp, but as the race went on the track started to dry up and I was able to get down to the times I was doing in qualifying.”
In 2nd was Lynn, from Rosenqvist, Auer, Latifi, Marciello, Buller, Serralles, Derani, and Blomqvist. 11th went to King, beating home Muller, Lewis, Giovinazzi, Grenhagen, Gilbert, Mardenborough, van de Laar, Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport) and Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam). 21st was Andre Rudersdorf (ma-con), from Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), ahead of Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing), Goddard, Gelael and Gary Thompson (Romeo Ferraris).