Last season, GP3 rookie Mitch Evans became the youngest driver in the series to win a race. The year began well, as he took points in his first race before winning the feature in Spain from pole. The Kiwi went on to finish third in the Valencia feature. His second half of the season was not so good, as Mitch made some driving errors and only scored three more points – two for pole in Germany (a dry to wet race) and one for an eighth place at Monza. His qualifying results, however, were excellent. As he signs for Arden for another year, let’s see if he can translate that to more results for the team.
Mitch is joined by Italian driver David Fumanelli, while his 2011 GP3 teammate Simon Trummer moves up to Arden’s GP2 team. His other teammate Lewis Williamson will be driving for the team in Formula Renault 3.5 as they join the series for the first time.
Vettel on pole, Williams having problems, Force India not really trying in Q3… nothing new then. But it was an incredibly exciting qualifying session. Heikki Kovalainen had a chance at Q2 with Rubens Barrichello’s car problems not allowing him to run, but was unable to get ahead of Schumacher. Daniel Ricciardo beat his teammate again, showing good form in the HRT.
In Q2, a red flag halted a fast lap from Vettel. It had been caused by an unnamed driver taking out one of the bollards, which was left dangerously in the middle of the track. Hamilton went fastest, setting a 1:38.4. Pastor Maldonado finished 17th, which will demote him to 23rd tomrrow after his grid penalty. Two Williams on the back of the grid is very much symbolic of the team’s terrible 2011 season. Neither Sauber, Renault or Toro Rosso made it through to the final session, leaving five teams to challenge for top spot.
But realistically it came down to the McLarens and Vettel. After the first set of hot laps, it was close, and then they went out again. Button was first, Hamilton second, and Vettel a good way behind them all in clear space. First, Button took P1, then Hamilton. Hope filled McLaren despite Hamilton’s lap not being as good as his Q2 time. But then, Vettel did it again. He went a few hundredths slower than the Brit’s Q2 time, but it didn’t matter. He was still on pole.
Simon Trummer and Fabio Onidi have both been penalised following today’s race. Simon Trummer receives a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow after a collision with Jake Rosenzweig that took both of them out; Fabio Onidi was discovered to have been ignoring yellow flags and has twenty seconds added to his race time in place of a drive-through penalty.
Team Lotus welcomed on board new sporting director Steve Nielsen today. He will be starting work in September. Steve formerly worked at Arrows, old Team Lotus, Tyrrell, Benetton and (most recently) Renault, and will be replacing Dieter Gass.
In the young drivers’ test, McLaren have revealed that they will be using regular test driver Gary Paffett (who has never driven in a Grand Prix) alongside Oliver Turvey; Mercedes will field Sam Bird; and Ferrari will field their test driver Jules Bianchi.
Arden’s GP2 final lineup was announced early this morning, mixing its GP2 and GP3 teams. Simon Trummer, who found his pace late in the season in GP3, will partner Josef Kral. This means that there will be two Czech drivers in the GP2 final.
There is still no news on who will be driving for Super Nova.
Simon Trummer – 23
Driving for Arden International, Swiss driver Simon showed lots of promise in pre- and mid-season testing. Points could have been on the cards for him. But in comparison to Lewis Williamson and Mitch Evans his teammates, he is struggling. He’s only had one bad qualifying, and usually finishes fairly close to the points.
Best qualifying: 10
Worst qualifing: 27
Best finish: 9 (Nurburgring feature)
Worst finish: 27 (Barcelona feature)
Retirements: 3 (1 classified)
Maxim Zimin – 22
Maxim is a Russian with potential, but until the Hungaroring sprint race his results had been pretty rubbish as he languished at the bottom of the standings. In treacherous conditions, he managed to hold on to the car and finish 8th – much better than his previous-best finish of 15th.
But Maxim has also had some very bad races, particularly in Silverstone where his dangerous driving saw him disqualified from the feature race and excluded from the sprint.
Best qualifying: 13
Worst qualifing: 27
Best finish: 8 (Hunagroring sprint)
Worst finish: 23 (Istanbul feature)
One member of MW Arden’s trio of GP3 drivers Simon Trummer turns 22 today. The Swiss driver is in his second year of the series in which he came 25th last year, and with his teammate Mitch Evans standing out, he has a lot of work to do to catch up.
In 2007, he joined Swiss Formula Renault 2.0, coming seventh, and in 2008 he came second to current F2 leader Christopher Zanella. In 2009 he moved to the International Formula Master series, finishing eleventh behind current GP2 drivers Fabio Leimer, Josef Kral and Pal Varhaug, but ahead of Kelvin Snoeks of F2.
He moved to GP3, and only managed two points finishes of sixth and eighth in feature races. So far this year he hasn’t retired from any races except for being classified in the Barcelona sprint race despite a non-finish. His two teammates Lewis Williamson and Mitch Evans have been doing a lot better, But with six rounds left in the season, there is plenty of time to improve.