It was a good day for Russian racing drivers today. In Formula Two, Max Snegirev – who’s done a bit of driving at Brands Hatch – got his second points finish with a strong qualifying and race to finish 7th. He’s now 16th in the championship. In Formula One, Vitaly Petrov got into Q3 at the expense of his teammate. And in GP3, Ivan Lukashevich didn’t get points but finished 11th – his best finish of the season.
There was a threat of rain at the start of the race, and a couple of drivers took the risk of wet tyres. But that was a mistake as the rain held off for the moment. They were forced to pit and change tyres. Mitch Evans maintained his lead from pole, while Lewis Williamson became second. But Evans – along da Costa – had a bit of a problem caused by their teams. Their cars had had their tyres fitted too late on the grid. They were given 10 second stop-and-go penalties.
Conor Daly had a fantastic start and moved into the points with Evans’ penalty. Other drivers also benefited and managed to move up the field, including Ivan Lukashevich and Nico Muller. Rio Haryanto on his best race weekend ever was battling with Williamson for the lead.
Then, in the last four laps, it began to rain. A few drivers pitted for tyres – giving Conor Daly even more points – and the frontrunners were struggling on slicks in conditions remeniscent of the Formula One race in 2007. Haryanto, Williamson and James Calado struggled against each other, but it was the Indonesian driver who took the win. There aren’t a lot of racing drivers from his country, but he’s shown that Indonesians have talent. Well done Rio!
Caterham Team AirAsia provided a lot of the entertainment but failed to score points after Fabio Leimer pushed Luiz Razia off the track while they were battling for 9th. Auto GP championship leader Luca Filippi in his 100th GP2 race moved from second to first in the pits, then pushed and pushed to gain a small lead and take the win. Charles Pic and Romain Grosjean took the remaining podium places.
Marcus Ericsson overtook van der Garde at the end to take fifth behind Jules Bianchi, and in seventh was Dani Clos. On pole tomorrow will be Sam Bird. Clos was gifted seventh place after Parente recieved a drive-through penalty.
Fabio Leimer got into trouble twice in the race – he almost took out Adam Carroll on his charge before he pushed off Razia. He has been excluded from the race results. Meanwhile Pal Varhaug has a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow after colliding with Kevin Mirocha on the first lap and causing a safety car period while the marshals rescued the two cars from the track.
A brilliant cheeky move by Jack Clarke between the polesitter and Ramon Pineiro got him into first place. Pineiro got into second. An unlucky accident on the first lap saw Jordan King go off along with Lariche, Snoeks and Marinescu. Alex Brundle retired shortly after with a broken suspension, and Thiemo Storz beached himself in the Brands Hatch gravel.
But apart from that, it was a good race with Jose Luiz Abadin battling Mikkel Mac for 10th. Abadin got the point in the end – his first. Armaan Ebrahim also scored two points.
Jack Clarke took the win and fastest lap. Pineiro came second. Further back, a battle for third had polesitter Hegewald in the lead all the way, with Silver Lining’s Miki Monras fourth and Mirko Bortolotti fifth. Bortolotti still extends his lead over Zanella as the Swiss driver came sixth. James Cole also broke his points duck by coming eighth.
Qualifying almost went as normal. The expected drivers went out in Q1 along with a less expected Kamui Kobayashi. But he’s done well starting from the back before. The Toro Rossos, Perez, Heidfeld, the Williams and di Resta went out in Q2, leaving Sutil and Petrov in Q3 along with the Mercs, Ferraris, Red Bulls and McLarens.
It was close. In the end, Hamilton split the Red Bulls. But the Red Bulls were not in their typical order. Webber took his second consecutive pole, while Vettel is off the front row for the first time since Monza last year. Alonso is next to him. It will be an interesting race.
Liuzzi was relegated five places and will start from the back of the grid. But as it turns out, that is 23rd. Sebastien Buemi has had his qualifying results excluded because of irregularities in his fuel. He will probably start from the back of the grid or the pit lane.