Adrian Quaife-Hobbs – 7
It’s tough at the top. Any GP3 driver has a mathematical chance of winning the title, but any of the top seven have a realistic chance with Adrian only 12 points behind Valtteri Bottas. Adrian picked up his only pole position of the season at Silverstone, but he didn’t start at the front because his team had decided on dry tyres. When the rain began falling, he was into the pits. He did manage to get back into the points by the final lap, taking fourth.
His win had come earlier in the season, after a run of low results at Istanbul and Barcelona. But in a rare dry race for GP3 at Valencia, he began the race third on the grid, but took the fastest lap and the win. Surprisingly, the Brit only has two other points finishes this season, but they have all come in feature races which is why he is doing so well – he came fifth at the Nurburgring and third at the Hungaroring.
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 16
Best finish: 1 (Valencia feature)
Worst finish: 24 (Istanbul feature)
Sorry for the silence on practice and qualifying. I have been very busy recently.
Webber takes pole! They only managed to get one dry run in Q3, but it was enough for the Aussie to go quicker. And Heikki Kovalainen made it to Q2 after the rain prevented the other teams from getting in a better lap. Daniel Ricciardo qualified – as expected – in 24th place, while Timo Glock outqualified Jarno Trulli struggling this weekend in his Lotus.
McLaren are having real trouble. Hamilton is only 10th on the grid tomorrow while Di Resta made it into 6th next to Button in 5th. The Ferraris share row 2.
A wet qualifying messed things up, with all the frontrunners in the middle of the field. Dangerous for accidents. But unlucky Bianchi got in a hot lap before the rain came down and takes pole. Grosjean starts 13th after qualifying 3rd because of his penalty after causing an accident in Valencia.
This morning pole was taken by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, with James Calado alongside him after a penalty was revoked. Lewis Williamson and Mitch Evans take row 2 for Arden, and hopefully will do well to seal a great day for their boss Mark Webber. Nigel Melker starts 16th after his penalty.
The races are up next. Let’s see what happens…
A brilliant race saw polesitter Charles Pic fail to make it to the grid. He started from the pit lane, but later retired with mechanical issues. Giedo van der Garde then led the race until he was given a drive-through penalty after setting the fastest lap under yellow flags. Oops. Romain Grosjean finished the race well in the lead, maintaining his grasp on the championship.
The demoted van der Garde came racing back through the field from fourth. He overtook Dani Clos fairly easily, but a harder challenge was Davide Valsecchi. Unfortunately the AirAsia driver made a mistake on the second-to-last lap and let the Dutchman through. Valsecchi still finished third.
Further back, Luiz Razia also had a good race for AirAsia to finish sixth – his first points since Turkey. Esteban Gutierrez got his first points as he finished 7th, though his ART teammate Jules Bianchi continued to have a terrible season and retired on the first lap in a collision with Marcus Ericsson. Sam Bird also scavenged points in fifth, and Josef Kral finished eighth for the final point to take provisional pole tomorrow.
In GP3, Alex Sims was demoted ten places from sixth to sixteenth for clashing with Gabby Chaves in qualifying. Pedro Nunes was demoted to 24th. A multi-car pile-up off the line saw the safety car come out; Trummer, Zimin and Hylkema all went out, and Nico Muller also went out after hitting debris, but Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took the lead from Lewis Williamson.
More retirements were to follow, with Finn Aaro Vainio and Pedro Nunes abandoning the race. Championship leader Nigel Melker also failed to finish. Alex Sims didn’t take long to get up into ninth, and continued battling his way up the points. Dean Smith lost speed right at the end of the race, putting Arden’s Williamson and Evans second and third on the podium next to Manor’s Quaife-Hobbs. Evans now leads the championship by a single point!
In F2, there were only two retirements but plenty of mistakes made at a wet Spa-Francorchamps. With Bortolotti demoted from pole, Pineiro looked like he could do well but made a mistake to slip back in the field. He climbed up again to finish 7th, taking the fastest lap. Jordan King finished 17th, but the winner was Will Bratt. Christopher Zanella did enough to maintain the lead of the championship by two points.
Vettel qualified on pole for F1. The only real excitement in the session was Maldonado stalling in Q2 and causing a red flag. Despite this, he still starts ahead of Buemi and Perez on the grid.
In GP3/F1 news, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had great fun doing an aero test for Virgin in Spain at the weekend. The British driver was a natural choice for the team as he is competing for Manor Racing in GP3 for the second season in a row. Last year he finished fifteenth with 10 points, having had one podium and two fifth-place finishes in an otherwise quiet year. Currently he is 19th in the 2011 championship.
Now, all the teams for the three series are preparing to head out to Barcelona. Well, except for Hispania. They’re already there! They’ve put a picture on their Facebook wall of the empty garages waiting to be filled.
If you’re in the UK and for some reason you missed it, there was an RB6 and a T127 on Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections last night. He was doing an episode on Formula One. The episode also features Mike Gascoyne, the Team Lotus technical director, and David Coulthard driving around Silverstone. The BBC clearly loves these teams more than any other. Anyway, you can check it out on iPlayer.