Yelloly drives for Pons at Silverstone

GP3 podium sitter Nick Yelloly has managed to secure a last-minute deal with Pons to drive their Formula Renault 3.5 car at Silverstone this weekend. After his brilliant races there earlier this year, he should be a sure thing for the team. At the GP3 rounds there, he secured a podium after his team made the decision to start on wet tyres, driving for much of the race in second but overtaken by Alex Sims in the final laps. To confirm that the result wasn’t just a fluke based on a lucky tyre choice, Nick went on to finish sixth in the sprint race.
Pons have had trouble securing a driver for their final race seat, and with FR 3.5 seemingly not limited as to the number of drivers a team can run in a year, their second seat has been held by a different driver in every round so far. It will be good experience for the young British driver as he gets ready for Spa the following weekend.

Meanwhile, with Justin Wilson injured in Indycar, for the next two races his seat will be taken by none other than 2008 GP2 Champion and former Jordan driver Giorgio Pantano.

Summer day 11 – Daly, Bacheta, Yelloly, Chaves

Conor Daly – 20
Carlin fans have been hoping all season for an improvement in the team’s GP3 fortunes after several dismal qualifying sessions and a complete lack of points apart from eight from Tom Dillmann at the start of the year. Popular American Conor – the son of Irish racing driver Derek Daly – has been doing the best of the two regular drivers, and he finally picked up points in the Nurburgring feature race when he came sixth on slicks in the rain. Sometimes, just staying on track is enough, and both Carlin drivers are good at not spinning in the rain. Incredibly, Conor has failed to retire from any race so far.

Points: 3
Best qualifying: 13
Worst qualifing: 29
Best finish: 6 (Nurburgring feature)
Worst finish: 25 (Istanbul sprint)
Retirements: 0

Luciano Bacheta – 19
The Silverstone feature race saw all seven British drivers finish in the points after many drivers made bad tyre decisions on the grid. But Bacheta’s crew at Mucke Motorsport made the right choice as he started on the wet tyres. At one point he was sailing along in third, but he was eventually overtaken by Nick Yelloly and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had both started on slicks but had speed and skill enough to catch him at the end. Aside from that lucky race, however, Luciano hasn’t got many good results. But the young British-Indian-Italian driver should improve next season.

Points: 4
Best qualifying: 12
Worst qualifing: 28
Best finish: 5 (Silverstone feature)
Worst finish: 25 (Nurburgring both races)
Retirements: 2

Nick Yelloly – 18
British driver Nick’s best weekend was also at Silverstone, when he achieved points in both the feature race and the sprint. He got his first podium finish in the feature, and came sixth in the sprint. Aside from that, Nick has generally finished in the top half of the field, though he has also had a couple of bad races.

Points: 7
Best qualifying: 10
Worst qualifing: 26
Best finish: 3 (Silverstone feature)
Worst finish: 25 (Barcelona feature)
Retirements: 1

Gabriel Chaves – 17
Columbian driver Gabby Chaves has scored points in three races so far this season, and he began well. But in the more recent races his form has faltered. He had car trouble in Hungary, but apart from that he has qualified in the top half of the field. Considering how close everyone is, this is quite impressive.

Points: 8
Best qualifying: 7
Worst qualifing: 30
Best finish: 4 (Valencia feature)
Worst finish: 23 (Hungaroring feature)
Retirements: 3 (1 classified)

GP2 and GP3 races report

Watching the GP2 and GP3 races was hard this afternoon. Not because of the races, which were very exciting, but because of the Portuguese commentators who did their best to make them sound as boring as possible.

GP2
Lots of drivers did well today. Starting in the rain behind the safety car, the drivers changed to slicks as soon as the pit lane opened. But Bianchi delayed and cut his advantage to Christian Vietoris. The ART and Racing Engineering drivers battled in the second-half of the race, but Bianchi took the win with Vietoris taking his first GP2 points in second. Swede Marcus Ericsson finished 3rd with iSport. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean finished 4th from 13th, Stefano Coletti finished 7th from 21st, and Van der Garde finished 8th from 19th. Dani Clos took 6th to give Racing Engineering a double points finish, and Bird did the same for iSport by finishing 5th.

GP3
The grid was dry, but as they pulled away for the formation lap it began to rain. Many drivers were on slicks and pulled in to change tyres. But a few smart drivers from the back of the grid had the right tyres on. Swiss driver Nico Muller found himself in the lead with pointless Nick Yelloly and Luciano Bacheta behind him. Behind them, the front half of the grid were trying desperately to make up for their mistake.
It was Alex Sims and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs who made up the most. Sims overtook Yelloly right at the end, and Quaiffe-Hobbs finished 4th. Bacheta scored his first points, meaning every single Mucke Motorsport driver has scored points in the season and promoting the team to 2nd in the championship. Behind Bacheta came James Calado for ART, Lewis Williamson for Arden, and Dean Smith for Addax. Not only does this mean that all seven British drivers finished in the points – and will take pole to P7 in tomorrow’s sprint race – but every team except for Carlin and Tech 1 scored points. A fantastic and unusual result. Thomas Hylkema managed his first race finish.

Mitch Evans still leads the GP3 championship on 26 points, but he is only one point ahead of Alex Sims and four ahead of the struggling Nigel Melker, who had another DNF today. James Calado is fifth with 19 points, and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs is 6th with 19 points. Watch out Mitch, the British are coming!
In GP2, Romain Grosjean now has 40 points. Giedo van der Garde is second on 34 points, while Sam Bird is now third with 31. 10 points behind his Davide Valsecchi, who had a bad race. Jules Bianchi has closed the gap to his compatriot – he has 20 points and is 7th behind Charles Pic with 24.

F1 Qualifying Turkey 11

Lotus once again creep closer to Q2, after Kobayashi’s failure to set a qualifying time put Heikki Kovalainen in P18, beating his teammate for the fourth time in four races. Liuzzi will start ahead of both Virgin cars after D’Ambrosio’s penalty, which is good news for Virgin.
In Q2, Schumacher made it through to the final part of qualifying for the first time. Paul di Resta failed to beat his teammate for the first time this year – an incredible rookie record – and came P13. Williams did much better, with Barrichello P11 and Maldonado P14. The two Toro Rossos were at the bottom of the timesheets, with Alguersuari lining up next to Kovalainen tomorrow.
Petrov was first man on track in Q3, with some others coming out while Massa, Schumacher, Rosberg and Heidfeld remained in the garage to save tyres. Finally they all went out again to set a final lap except for the two Red Bull drivers. But they retained their front row, with Vettel unsurprisingly in pole, while Rosberg went P3 ahead of Hamilton’s McLaren. Massa messed up his lap and didn’t end up setting a time to be P10. And Alonso went P5 for the fourth time in four races. So Alonso, Rosberg and Vettel have each beaten their teammate in every race so far.

In GP3, Williamson has been docked 6 grid places for crossing the pit lane line twice, and Yelloly three places for crossing it once. This moves Caldarelli to P3, Melker P4, Bottas P5, Calado P6, Christiensen P7, Evans P8, and then Williamson P9; Nunes P19, Bacheta P20, Amberg P21 and Yelloly P22.

Next up is the GP2 race.