Summer day 22 – Jack Clarke

Jack Clarke – 6
Brands Hatch was not a turning point in Jack Clarke’s season, but it was a massive boost. In his striking black, yellow and blue car he took his first win in the series. He followed that up by finishing third in the second race for his third podium of the season.
The Brit has only missed out on points twice, and has never retired from a race, so he can be pleased with his progress this season. Hopefully, there are more wins in his future.

Points: 80
Best qualifying: 3
Worst qualifing: 12
Best finish: 1 (Brands Hatch race 1)
Worst finish: 19 (Spa race 1)
Retirements: 0

Saturday Summary

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.

GP3
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!

GP2
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.

F2
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.

F1
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.

Bortolotti gets win number three

Jolyon Palmer did not qualify for, and Parthiva Sureshwaren didn’t participate in today’s F2 race. Mihai Marinescu and Alex Brundle were early casualties, but otherwise the race ran smoothly. Well, except for Ramon Pineiro destroying his chances by lining up in the wrong place on the grid. Oops. He was given a drive-through penalty, then began to push his way back through the field. He got into an incredible battle for 12th in the final laps with two other drivers, but ended up 14th by 0.012s.
Pole man Bortolotti pulled a small lead, while Zanella got up to second straight away. Jack Clarke managed to get himself into third and stayed there, fighting off Miki Monras right to the end. A mistake by Will Bratt meant Jordan King moved into fifth – crazy to think he’s not even been racing for a full year yet – with Kelvin Snoeks behind him. Johannes Theobald at his home track got his first ever Formula Two point, finishing 10th.
Rookie Fabio Gamberini brought the number 88 car home 20 seconds behind Sung-Hak Mun. A good effort though from the Brazilian.

Three drivers have had points finishes in every race of the season so far: Mirko Bortolotti, Miki Monras and Christopher Zanella. Even more impressively, Zanella and Bortolotti have each missed out on only one podium. Zanella’s was at round one (Silverstone 1), and Bortolotti’s was at round three (Magny-Cours 1).

F2 Practice 1 – Silverstone 2011

The Formula Two series got under way today at Silverstone on the Arena circuit layout – the same one that was used in the British Grand Prix last year – though I am not sure whether or not they were using the new pit complex. With five British drivers, they’ll be hoping for a good home race, and Jack Clarke – an expert at F2 having been in the reincarnated series since its return in 2009) – finished top of the timing sheets. Second, however, was rookie Ramón Piñeiro of Spain. So experience doesn’t count for everything!

There were two red flags – a brief one from rookie James Cole who managed to get going again and finished fifteenth – and one right at the end of the session from Johannes Theobald, who finished 14th. Johannes is the younger of the Theobald brothers, but finished far ahead of Julian, who was 24th.
A gap of only 3.230 seconds between first and 24th shows how close these drivers are. Of course, the cars are all the same build, and the drivers and their engineers can only adjust certain things to get the best out of them. A lot of it is down to driver skill.
I’ve updated the championship and driver lists with the final two drivers. You’ll notice that Jose Luis Abadin is daringly running with the number 13 car. I don’t believe in superstition like that, so I would probably do the same thing. He finished 21st out of the 24 drivers.

Full times and information on each driver’s runs available here at formulatwo.com . More to come when I’ve looked at the data.