2013 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series
Rounds 1-3, Silverstone, United Kingdom, May 25th/26th 2013
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Weather: Fine, dry, sunny
Race Report – Round 2 (Race 2):
At Silverstone this lunchtime Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing) claimed his first F3 victory in the second race of the weekend. He was followed home by yesterday’s winner William Buller (Fortec Motorsport), the latter having battled his way through from the fourth row of the grid. 3rd went to Double R’s Sean Gelael. The National Class victory was claimed by Edward Jones (Team West-Tec) by quite a large margin from team-mates Roberto la Rocca and Cameron Twynham. Alice Powell (Mark Bailey Racing) was the only runner in the National Class B category and thus the winner, while John Bryant-Meisner (Performance Racing Europe) was the sole Invitation Class representative and was rewarded for his success yesterday with a weight penalty that hampered him throughout the race.
At the start, National Class runner Sun Zheng (CF Racing) was on pole as the grid was set by reversing the top eight from Race 1. That was always going to be a bit of a problem, especially with Jones alongside him and the first of the International Class boys was on row two. However, when the lights went out, Giovinazzi simply drove round the pair of Zheng and Jones to claim the lead. He was followed through by Gelael, after which Zheng simply dropped away, leaving Jones in 3rd overall.
Meanwhile, a drive through penalty was awarded to Powell for an out of position start, which was not what she needed. At the front, though, Giovinazzi was opening up a gap, while behind him Gelael was being chased down by Buller, who had overtaken Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing) for 4th and looked set to make short work of Jones next. Another driver on the move was Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport), the Puerto Rican now up to 8th just behind Bryant-Meisner.
The third Fortec runner, Felipe Guimaraes, was 6th but almost lost out to Bryant-Meisner at Stowe to B-M. The Swede was just not quite able to make it stick with all the extra ballast he was carrying, and instead he ended up dropping two places for 9th. Ahead of them Buller closed rapidly on Jones and was soon past with Gelael in his sights. Serralles barged through to 7th now just behind Jones who simply didn’t have the pace to hold off the newer International Class cars. Nicholas Latifi (Carlin) followed the Fortec driver through for 8th, looking to continue yesterday’s battle if he could.
Giovinazzi was pushing hard at the front setting an early fastest lap, presumably well aware that Buller was out there and closing in on Gelael hand over fist. With five laps run, Jones lost another overall place to Serralles. He didn’t need to worry though, he was still well ahead of la Rocca who was back in 12th overall. Zheng, meanwhile, was now dead last from pole, which wasn’t how he might have wanted his race to go. Just for good measure, he then got a track limits warning, which seemed a shade harsh.
Closer to the front Buller was pushing hard, setting a new fastest lap as he pulled ever closer to Gelael. Yesterday’s winner, Bryant-Meisner, was now having to fend off Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), for 9th, the rest of the International Class all ahead of him. A little further forward, Serralles drove round the outside of Guimaraes at Brooklands, using his greater experience of this track to get the better of his team-mate.
Behind them Latifi and Jordan King (Carlin) were fighting for 7th, King taking a long, hard look at his Canadian team-mate. The result was that King lost a little ground and found he had Bryant-Meisner right on his rear wing. Bryant-Meisner saw his opportunity and tried to pass King but it wouldn’t stick. He had to slot back in to 9th, but it cost King even more ground and allowed Latifi to open up a small gap as a result.
As Powell came in to serve her penalty, Buller closed Gelael down for 2nd and drove past him on the Hangar Straight. In the other fast moving Fortec, Serralles was busy hunting down Calderon and it didn’t look as if it would be long before he too gained a place. Buller, in 2nd now, was pushing as he tried to make up the deficit to Giovinazzi. He had 3.1 seconds to make up with 18 minutes left on the clock.
Behind the leaders Guimaraes was struggling to hold position and could do nothing to keep Latifi at bay. To add to his misery, he had King right behind waiting for his chance. King went up the inside pushing the Brazilian wide and he was through. Anything they could do, their team-mate could too and so Mardenborough again set about Bryant-Meisner, as the two of them caught Guimaraes. With the three of them trying to run three abreast through Abbey, there was a collective intake of breath as everyone waited to see what would happen. Guimaraes held his place, which left Bryant-Meisner vulnerable to Mardenborough. However, the Swede was too much of a challenge it seemed.
As the race wore on, Buller seemed to have settled for a safe second place, rather than trying to catch Giovinazzi, while Serralles was getting on terms with Calderon. She tried to hold him off, but Serralles is a very difficult man to stop when the mood takes him, and he opted to go round the outside at Copse to claim 4th. With Calderon wrong footed as a result, Latifi also went through.
The race finally began to settle, though Guimaraes and Bryant-Meisner were still going hammer and tongs at each other with neither of them about to quit. This was despite Mardenborough lurking in wings waiting for a mistake. Serralles was towing Latifi round and Calderon was just ahead of King but many further changes seemed unlikely. King did relieve Calderon of 6th, which helped Serralles because King promptly went on the attack distracted Latifi. He tried a move at Brooklands for 5th but was just not close enough to complete the pass, and finally seemed to accept that he wouldn’t be able to improve.
Apart from a scuffle for 3rd in the National Class between Twynham and Liam Venter (Team West-Tec) that finally went the way of Twynham, the last few laps were pretty quiet, and Giovinazzi came home to victory well ahead of Buller, from Gelael, Serralles, Latifi, King, Calderon, Guimaraes, Bryant-Meisner and Mardenborough. 11th was National Class winner Jones, from la Rocca, Twynham, Venter, Zheng, Chris Vlok (Team West-Tec), Sean Walkinshaw (Team West-Tec), Hu An Zhu (Team West-Tec) and Powell.
Fastest laps went to Buller, Bryant-Meisner, Jones and Powell.