Summer day 23 – James Calado

James Calado – 5
British driver James Calado picked up his first points of the season up in Barcelona, coming second to Mitch Evans. Having had a midfield race at Istanbul, this was a good change, but he struggled in the sprint and finished 21st. In the next three rounds he picked up points for every race, coming eighth in the Valencia feature before winning the sprint from reversed pole as well as taking the fastest lap.
Race one at the Hungaroring didn’t go so well for James, as an altercation with Mitch Evans saw him fall to the back and finish 25th. But somehow he pushed back brilliantly in the sprint to finish on the podium in third and getting ahead of his Kiwi opponent. He has nine points less than his teammate… it’s a close thing!

Points: 31
Best qualifying: 2
Worst qualifing: 9
Best finish: 1 (Valencia sprint)
Worst finish: 25 (Hungaroring feature)
Retirements: 0

Double win for Lotus ART!

In both GP2 and GP3, drivers were given 10-place grid penalties at the sprint race for causing collisions. This worst affected GP2 driver Pal Varhaug, demoted from 13th to 23rd. Jules Bianchi, Luca Filippi and Fabio Leimer were also given penalties in GP2, but this doesn’t really affect their starting position as the were already retired at the back of the grid. For GP3, Pedro Nunes and Maxim Zimin also start from the back of the grid. In a race of high attrition, they had both retired. This affects Nunes more as he goes from 23rd to 30th. Zimin only loses a single position to start 29th.

So the GP3 race began with Lotus ART’s James Calado on reversed pole with teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside him. Fellow Brits Alexander Sims and Dean Smith took up the second row, with Gabby Chaves alongside Mitch Evans on the third row. There was another all-British fourth row with Lewis Williamson and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. This gave a brilliant chance of a British driver finishing on the podium or even winning the race.
And so it was. Calado dominated, while Sims managed to get into second. Williams reserve Bottas finished third to get his first GP3 podium. Some skillful overtaking saw Mitch Evans cement his championship lead by finishing fourth, and Gabby Chaves took fifth. A wild scrap at the end saw Daly barely lose out on sixth against Williamson. Dean Smith was running well but recieved a drive-through penalty to finish 11th. There were plenty of crashes, but British-Indian-Italian driver Luciano Bacheta avoided them and did some good overtaking for his best GP3 finish so far in 10th.

The GP2 reversed grid saw Josef Kral on pole with ART man Esteban Gutierrez second. Luiz Razia and title contender Sam Bird shared row two, then Dani Clos and Davide Valsecchi on row three. Romain Grosjean and Giedo van der Garde took the final row. Grosjean didn’t make it past the first lap, however, getting involved with Gonzalez and unlucky Charles Pic. Jules Bianchi had a great push from the back and finished seventh overtaking Mirocha right at the end of the final lap.
Gutierrez managed to get into the lead right away with Razia second. The Mexican pulled several seconds in the lead to take his first GP2 win and Lotus ART’s second of the day after their GP3 victory! AirAsia got their second podium. Third was Giedo van der Garde, taking his second podium of the weekend but failing to make an impression on Razia. Davide Valsecchi managed some great moves to finish fourth ahead of Dani Clos and Michael Herck.
This moves Caterham Team AirAsia up to 2nd in the championship, though Addax still lead by a decent margin. Romain Grosjean only leads by a single point from Giedo van der Garde, with Davide Valsecchi three points behind the Dutchman.

GP3 Birthdays: 13/6/2011

James Calado is a British GP3 driver for Lotus ART, and celebrates his 22nd birthday today.

The Worcestershire-born driver began karting aged 10, having a good career before moving into British Formula Renault in 2008. He was placed in the graduate cup, in which he finished runner-up to future F2 winner Dean Stoneman, but also took one overall victory and two pole positions. He took part in the 2008 British and Portuguese Formula Renault Winter championships, and won both of them taking five poles, six fastest laps and five wins over the eight combined races, finishing the winter series just three points ahead of his nearest competitor.
In 2009, he took part in the main British season and took 8 wins, 10 poles, 7 fastest laps and 12 podiums. Despite this he lost out to Dean Smith, who had started from the second round of the championship. Smith won and Calado came second.
The next year, he moved to British F3 to drive with Carlin. Once again he had a great season, taking 5 wins, 2 poles, 4 fastest laps and 12 overall podiums. He finished second to one of Carlin’s other drivers Jean-Eric Vergne, who had almost 100 points more than him.
This year, James is competing in GP3. His only points have come in the feature race at the second round in Barcelona, when he came second, which means he is currently 5th in the championship.

GP2 and 3 races

GP2 and GP3 had their races this afternoon. Qualifying for the Indy 500 is also going on. Ho Pin Tung, the Renault reserve driver, has been in an accident just a short while ago, and taken to hospital. It’s on YouTube: a terrifying spin and smash, but he walks away.

In GP2, the race was begun on pole by Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman also took fastest lap, but the win went to Charles Pic – his French teammate – jumping him in the pits. Sam Bird made it three podiums out of three as he finished third. Both Johnny Ceccotto and Fabio Leimer started from the back of the grid, but improved dramatically. Leimer was P9, only just outside the points! He has a chance to get there tomorrow. However, there was a retirement for AirAsia’s Luiz Razia, Luca Filippi (Super Nova) had an accident right at the start, and Michael Herck spun and collected Esteban Gutierrez mid-way through the race.
In GP3, the win went to polesitter Mitch Evans, taking a great victory for MW Arden. Tech 1’s Andrea Caldarelli started from second but could only manage fourth, being beaten by James Calado of ART and his teammate Aaro Vainio. Tech 1’s third driver Tamas Pal Kiss celebrated his recent birthday by also finishing in the points – a great day for the French team. Nigel Melker managed more points, giving him at least joint lead depending on who got the fastest lap.

Quotes will come in a separate blog entry.