Felix Rosenqvist and Lucas Auer topped the time sheets of this morning’s European Formula 3 free practice sessions at Brands Hatch.
Running on the much-lamented “Indy circuit”, Rosenqvist (Mücke) made the most of the cool conditions to register 35 laps in the opening forty-minute run, with a best tour of 41.570s.
The Swede swapped the mixed it at the top of board with Prema Powerteam pairing Alex Lynn, Raffaele Marciello and Carlin’s Jordan King. Sven Muller set the early pace in the session, as cars ventured out onto the cool track for the first time.
Auer went three-tenths quicker in the second free practice session, setting a best of 41.276s, garnering a 0.049s gap over Marciello. Rosenqvist went two-tenths quicker than his earlier time, but dropped to 3rd, while Mans Grenhagen showed improved late pace to scoop 4th spot.
The sessions were relatively quiet, although an off for Lynn at Clearways ended the opening session a few minutes earlier. Jann Mardenborough suffered a brief off through Paddock Hill Bend, but survived without damage.
Meanwhile Daniil Kvyat signed a deal to race with Carlin over the remainder of the European F3 season, alongside his GP3 drive with Arden. The Romeo Ferraris team return to the Formula 3 paddock with Michele Cerruti, following their absence from the Hockenheimring.
Fortec have reduced their weekend package back down to three cars, following Ed Jones’ guest appearance in the previous round. It means the field comes in at 29 entries – this was initially an issue due the Indy circuit’s limitation to 28 slots; however, that issue has since been bypassed and all 29 drives will start.
2013 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 4, Free Practice 1) Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 41.570s 2. Alex Lynn Prema Dallara-Merc 41.612s + 0.042s 3. Raffaele Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 41.687s + 0.117s 4. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 41.710s + 0.140s 5. Tom Blomqvist Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 41.741s + 0.171s 6. Sven Muller Ma-con Dallara-VW 41.844s + 0.273s 7. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 41.848s + 0.278s 8. Dennis van de Laar Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 41.898s + 0.328s 9. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 41.902s + 0.332s 10. Lucas Auer Prema Dallara-Merc 41.902s + 0.332s 11. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 41.930s + 0.360s 12. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 41.934s + 0.364s 13. Michael Lewis Mucke Dallara-Merc 42.001s + 0.431s 14. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 42.034s + 0.464s 15. Eddie Cheever Prema Dallara-Merc 42.049s + 0.479s 16. Josh Hill Fortec Dallara-Merc 42.136s + 0.566s 17. Will Buller T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 42.141s + 0.571s 18. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 42.268s + 0.698s 19. Mans Grenhagen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 42.278s + 0.708s 20. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Merc 42.331s + 0.761s 21. Daniil Kvyat Carlin Dallara-VW 42.398s + 0.828s 22. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 42.467s + 0.897s 23. Mitchell Gilbert Mucke Dallara-Merc 42.566s + 0.996s 24. Andre Rudersdorf Ma-con Dallara-VW 42.676s + 1.106s 25. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 42.784s + 1.214s 26. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 42.879s + 1.309s 27. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc 43.880s + 1.310s 28. Sandro Zeller Zeller Dallara-Merc 43.074s + 1.504s 29. Michela Cerruti Romeo Ferraris Dallara-Merc 44.298s + 2.728s 2013 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 4, Free Practice 2) Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lucas Auer Prema Dallara-Merc 41.276s 2. Raffaele Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 41.325s + 0.049s 3. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 41.348s + 0.072s 4. Mans Grenhagen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 41.450s + 0.174s 5. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 41.468s + 0.192s 6. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 41.469s + 0.193s 7. Alex Lynn Prema Dallara-Merc 41.470s + 0.194s 8. Tom Blomqvist Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 41.478s + 0.202s 9. Dennis van de Laar Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 41.532s + 0.256s 10. Michael Lewis Mucke Dallara-Merc 41.560s + 0.284s 11. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 41.596s + 0.320s 12. Josh Hill Fortec Dallara-Merc 41.601s + 0.325s 13. Will Buller T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 41.603s + 0.327s 14. Sven Muller Ma-con Dallara-VW 41.613s + 0.337s 15. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Merc 41.654s + 0.378s 16. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 41.672s + 0.396s 17. Daniil Kvyat Carlin Dallara-VW 41.683s + 0.407s 18. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 41.723s + 0.447s 19. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 41.837s + 0.561s 20. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc 41.874s + 0.615s 21. Eddie Cheever Prema Dallara-Merc 41.891s + 0.686s 22. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 41.962s + 0.748s 23. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 42.024s + 0.790s 24. Mitchell Gilbert Mucke Dallara-Merc 42.066s + 0.916s 25. Andre Rudersdorf Ma-con Dallara-VW 42.192s + 1.740s 26. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 42.385s + 1.109s 27. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 42.646s + 1.370s 28. Sandro Zeller Zeller Dallara-Merc 42.755s + 1.479s 29. Michela Cerruti Romeo Ferraris Dallara-Merc 43.815s + 2.539s
Unfortunately, one of talking points to emerge from last weekend’s GP2 action at Barcelona was that of driving standards in the category.
While there is little doubt the competitive end of GP2 contains some noteworthy talent – including the likes of Robin Frijns, Felipe Nasr, James Calado, Sam Bird and points leader Stefano Coletti – there have been occasions when the pack has been a touch… frenetic.
So much so that standards of driving have once again called into question, yet this is by no means just a GP2 problem by any stretch of the imagination.
Having played witness to some truly horrendous and petulant incidents, whether they occur in Formula 3, Formula Renault, GP3, Auto GP or otherwise, far too often too lenient an action has been taken.
Often by the time a number of drivers have reached the level of GP2, the die has been cast by experience.
On the penultimate lap of Sunday’s GP2 Series sprint race, Caterham’s Sergio Canamasas peered down the inside of a struggling Johnny Cecotto Jr (Arden) at the Banc de Sabadell turn, with Canamasas running the kerb as they approached the new chicane.
As the pair leaned in toward Europcar corner – with Cecotto Jr slightly ahead – the Arden racer appeared to swerve very suddenly to the right, clashing with Canamasas. Despite the hit Cecotto Jr to maintain 5th.
From there, Canamasas slowed dramatically and his race was rendered null when moments later he was rear-ended by Rio Haryanto.
Following a review of the collision, the stewards declared the clash to be a racing incident, with neither party receiving punishment – a decision that drew some exasperation from within the paddock. Speaking to Cecotto Jr afterward, the Arden racer was clear about his innocence. “There was contact with Canamasas; I left him plenty of space for him to go to the right and the stewards saw that as well and they took no further action.”
It had been a tricky race for Cecotto Jr. The Venezuelan banged wheels with eventual race winner Stefano Coletti off the start, damaging his steering arm in the process. “I was really struggling, because in the first corner Coletti didn’t give me any space, crashed into me and since then I had steering bent far to the left. It made it very difficult throughout the race, especially in the first lap when I lost two positions because at one corner, the car just didn’t turn at all – I actually thought I had a puncture.”
Somewhat disabled by the opening lap collision drove the Arden racer to push his Pirelli’s harder than he ideally would have. But… that swerve… it is not, nor should it excuse, which makes the eventual stewards decision so unusual.
The incident generated yet more criticism for the already under-fire Cecotto Jr. It is less than two months since the Colombian racer deliberately drove Sam Bird off the track toward the end of qualifying at Sepang and come the following round in Bahrain, Canamasas did the same to Kevin Ceccon – twice.
On both occasions, Cecotto Jr and Canamasas merely had their qualifying times deleted, but with lenient penalties being awarded for such dubious conduct, it is maybe no surprise to find the third weekend in a row marred by such on track manoeuvres. In Malaysia, Cecotto Jr recovered to score points in the sprint race.
As with the series mentioned earlier, GP2 is a learning category, although the competitors within are decidedly closer to the top rung of single-seater motorsport. Ideally, these types of incidents should have been wrung out of a driver’s psyche long before s/he has reached GP2, but the increasing tendency for drivers to act out in such an aggressive manner on track raises the question as to whether enough is being done prior to GP2 to stamp out poor driving standards.
It is no secret that drivers in the ranks have been getting younger in recent decades and while the experience of karting and early race car divisions is clearly in abundance, maturity is often still yet to form, as occasional Formula One Driver Representative Allan McNish explains. “They started racing earlier, so their race craft is better. They’ve been brought up and educated in the ways of motorsport in a wider way than we ever were, but then again, they are still young and they still don’t have that real world experience.”
A former Formula One driver and twice winner of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, McNish has acted as coach to young drivers, including Carlin’s European Formula 3 driver Harry Tincknell. “There’s never any easy solution, the only thing is young drivers have a lot more talent and energy than experience and you have to learn these things, so it’s partly the education process and the growing up process and you see certain drivers who know how to keep out of trouble and they end up winning championships – Robin Frijns is an example.
“They are definitely more aware and better developed than I was at 16 or 17. Sometimes it’s the stuff away from the racing circuit the working with engineers and all the development of that side of things can also be part of it.”
On Sunday afternoon, one current GP2 driver left me in no doubt as to his thoughts of the situation. “Something needs to be done about the driving standards right now, because some people are getting away with some things and it’s spoiling the racing for other people – there were so many people deliberately driving other cars off the track,” said the race winner, before adding “The tarmac is there for a reason – it’s to be used and for the drivers to use it. Just because they are coming through doesn’t mean that they need to put you on the grass – it’s a completely avoidable accident every time.”
Expanding on the point, he also revealed, “Nobody is learning. We’ve had three rounds now and it’s still going on. You see a couple [of incidents] during the year and think ‘he’s gone too wild there’, but it’s common ground to that now and in my book it’s wrong. There’s defending a position harshly, but fairly and there’s forcing drivers off the track and the latter seems to be the thing to do right now.”
The application of fair stewarding is not purely to act as a monitor fair competition on track, but also as a point of safety, as noted by McNish. “When you take Eau Rouge or even the old last corner [at Circuit de Catalunya] when there was no run off area and there was only one metre between you and the wall, if you did something that was a bit radical, you had a shunt and now if you do something a bit radical, you both go across the run off area or somebody spins and that’s it.
“The ‘get out of jail free’ card is there much than it ever was before, which is correct, because nobody wants to have the shunts that they had before. They hurt, I can tell you from experience, they bloody well hurt.”
The likes of Formula 3, World Series, GP3 and GP2 exist to prepare drivers for the top level of single-seater motor racing, yet while dangerous on track actions persist, it only serves to harm the reputation of junior categories everywhere and the competitors within.
It is about time the sport works to change that attitude to poor driving standards, before petulance does some very real damage.
Carlin Motorsport racer Nick Yelloly is confident his sidestep to the GP3 Series in 2013 will bear fruit in his push to reach Formula One.
Hailing from Staffordshire in England, Yelloly had previously raced in the original iteration of the GP3 Series in 2011 with Atech CRS, before moving to Formula Renault 3.5 in latter part of the year.
A full season in the Renault 3.5 category followed in 2012, with Yelloly enjoying a confident run with Comtec, picking up two wins and a further two runner-up spots on his way to 5th in the championship, before announcing his switch back to GP3 with Trevor Carlin’s eponymous team.
On his return to the Formula One support series, the 22-year-old scored a 4th place in race one, but was punted out of the Sunday morning opener while running in a podium place.
Yelloly entered this year with plenty of experience behind him and with Carlin; he believes a title push is very much on the cards. “This is probably one of the first times that I’ve gone into a season with a team that have won a lot before and Carlin are proven championship winners.”
With Red Bull junior driver Antonio Felix da Costa behind the wheel of the original GP3/10 machine, Carlin enjoyed a solid run to 3rd last season and it is a performance Yelloly believes that success can be repeated and even improved upon. “They fought at the front last year and yes, it is a different car, but it is all the same people that made the car fast in the first place, so I’m pretty confident about that,” notes the World Series race winner. He adds, “I’ve got the experience of higher power, a bit of age and experience with tyres going off, whereas the older tyres in GP3 didn’t really go off. There’s a bit of extra pressure, but if you can’t deal with pressure, then this isn’t the sport to be in.”
Introducing the GP3/13 chassis and engine package has virtually transformed the face of the championship from one of an underpowered category with low buzzsaw-sounding engines to one which aligned itself as a healthy step up from Formula 3.
The naturally aspirated 3.4 litre engines and slightly reconfigured aerodynamic programme have certainly upped the laptimes, with the pole lap in Spain some 4.449 seconds quicker than last year’s effort, although the unchanged tyre compounds have proved a touch dramatic in their degradation – a factor picked up in pre-season testing. “The track temperatures [in testing] will never be as high as what we will run [at race weekends], but you never know with the way the weather is in Europe at the moment. You never know what the weather will be like, but it should be a lot warmer than what we tested in.”
As with all the competitors in the GP3 Series this year, Yelloly has found the Pirelli tyres a troublesome component due to excessively high wear, but one that needs to be mastered if success is to come.
Indeed the nature of the new car and the Pirelli’s saw lap times drop by approximately 7-10 seconds per lap by the end of the races; however the Englishman was pleased with how the new machine handled. “GP3 have done a really good job with the new car,” says the Carlin lead. “The old car wasn’t a proper racing machine – the engine was quite flat and there wasn’t much grip. Now it feels like the old World Series [by Renault] from around 2011 – there’s a fair bit of power and not tonnes of grip, although the new car […] is a completely different animal to the old car.“
Carlin have achieved much since their formation in the mid-90s and it is that success that has served to boost Yelloly’s belief in the team. “Being at Carlin is great, because we have a bit of cross reference with the GP2 team who have already ran in hot conditions and seen how their car behaved, so I don’t think it will hamper us too much.”
With eight British Formula 3 titles, as well as a couple of World Series crowns in Carlin’s drawers, Yelloly has had plenty of praise for his new team. “They are probably the most professional that I have worked with and they are very, very thorough.” He continues, “Mike Lugg is my engineer; he is very experienced and won in Formula 3 with [Jean-Eric] Vergne, so I have some very good people on my side.
“They are very serious when it comes down to business. We just have to get on with using the car – we have just got on with our job, not really worry about the times, because we’re pretty confident that we will be there or thereabouts.”
Inevitably there have been questions as to why Yelloly has transferred back to the GP3 Series in light of his achievements in the Formula Renault 3.5 category; however for the Staffordshire native, it was all quite simple – and very familiar. “Money is a big thing. We couldn’t fund another season [in Formula Renault 3.5] in a top team,” comments Yelloly. “I was with Comtec, who came last in the championship the year before and that was a very good deal, but to go and win it [in a top team] or be in the mix with [Antonio Felix] da Costa, [Kevin] Magnussen and [Stoffel] Vandoorne, we just couldn’t afford it.”
It is a story now all too common along the ranks feeder series categories, as drivers struggle to meet the rising costs of competing in motorsport; however Yelloly was undeterred by the financial barriers ahead. “I thought ‘what’s the next best thing to do to relight the fire?’ and GP3 with Carlin was a no-brainer. We got a good deal. The car was coming up in performance; you learn the Pirelli tyres, race in front of the Formula One bosses and get to drive for Trevor as well,” states Yelloly matter-of-factly, before adding, “That was the motivation.”
As GP3 is not running in Monte Carlo this year, there is several weeks until the next competitive meet at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia; however the meantime, the field is to congregate in June at the Hungaroring for its sole in-season test. Yelloly is confident that the team can at least go some way to solving some of the heavy tyre wear issues that cropped up in Barcelona.
Despite his drawbacks in the opening round, Yelloly is realistic about the potential for the rest of the season and of the long term. “The aim is to win, as everyone will say. Really, we’re trying to raise the money to either do something similar to Robert Wickens, where he went back to World Series to win, but ideally [the future] would be GP2.
“If the money is not there, then you have to look at different routes or go into sportscars, GTs or LMPs, but at the moment I am still fully focused on getting into Formula One, so therefore either World Series or GP2.”
Rapax driver Stefano Coletti claimed the GP2 Sprint Race ahead of the hard charging Robin Frijns and Felipe Nasr.
The Monegasque racer enjoyed a terrific start, to jump from the third row to the lead, but needed to fend off the intentions of Johnny Cecotto Jr in the process.
A poor couple of corners dropped Cecotto Jr to 4th behind the super quick Frijns and Nasr, both whom rose from 8th and 7th on the grid respectively.
Coletti maintained a narrow gap over Frijns throughout the running, although the Dutch racer did fall at least 4.7s behind the leader one point.
Having preserved his tyres in the middle stint, Frijns drew back to the rear of Coletti in the final laps; however the Hilmer Motorsport racer could not budge passed the Rapax, ensuring Coletti a margin of 0.6s at the flag.
It is a victory that allows Coletti to extend his championship lead over Nasr to 17 points.
Nasr enjoyed a solid run to 3rd to continue his run of consistent top four finishes. In the early laps, the Brazilian made a gap while Cecotto Jr dropped behind, allowing Nasr to keep solid pace as the race aged.
The next spot would eventually be taken by Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer. The Briton continues his upward turn of form, as he lept Kevin Ceccon and Alexander Rossi at bay in the opening half of the race, before slotting by Cecotto Jr with six laps remaining to take 4th, quickly pulling clear of the Venezuelan.
For Cecotto Jr, his race was once again became shrouded in controversy. With his Pirelli’s destroyed, the Arden racer weaved and cut across several competitors, before clashing with Sergio Canamasas in an attempt to hold him behind on the penultimate tour.
With Canamasas stumped for pace, a squeezed Rio Haryanto could do little but run into the rear Canamasas, as a pack of at least twelve cars closed into a tight bunch in the final chicane.
Haryanto would gain a ten-place grid penalty for Monaco’s Feature Race as a result – harsh considering the circumstances. Although slightly damaged, Cecotto Jr continued to claim 5th at the flag. His collision with Canamasas was deemed a racing incident; however it could have easily avoided had a touch a sensibility prevailed.
Amidst the chaos that formed behind the Cecotto Jr / Canamasas / Haryanto mess, Rossi took 6th ahead of Ceccon, with Daniel Abt sneaking from 12th to 8th on the final lap to pick up the final point.
Fabio Leimer took 9th ahead of Jon Lancaster 10th; as the field sorted itself out while James Calado and Sam Bird tiptoed through the mess to secure 11th and 12th respectively.
In a heart stopping moment at the race start, Tom Dillmann stalled on the grid, with the field around the Frenchman somehow missing him by inches.
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Sprint Race; 26 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Stefano Coletti Rapax 41m49.895s 2. Robin Frijns Hilmer + 0.691s 3. Felipe Nasr Carlin + 7.212s 4. Jolyon Palmer Carlin + 12.129s 5. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden + 35.593s 6. Alexander Rossi Caterham + 36.991s 7. Kevin Ceccon Trident + 38.483s 8. Daniel Abt ART + 39.645s 9. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 40.664s 10. Jon Lancaster Hilmer + 41.353s 11. James Calado ART + 41.464s 12. Sam Bird Russian Time + 41.876s 13. Mitch Evans Arden + 42.520s 14. Sergio Canamasas Caterham + 44.190s 15. Stephane Richelmi DAMS + 44.277s 16. Simon Trummer Rapax + 44.487s 17. Kevin Giovesi Lazarus + 44.628s 18. Daniel de Jong MP + 45.041s 19. Rene Binder Lazarus + 48.132s 20. Marcus Ericsson DAMS + 53.650s 21. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP + 53.938s 22. Jake Rosenzweig Addax + 1m02.518s 23. Nathanael Berthon Trident + 1m06.632s 24. Rio Haryanto Addax + 1m25.590s 25. Julian Leal Racing Engineering + 1 lap 26. Tom Dillmann Russian Time + 1 lap
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Sprint Race) Pos Driver Points 1. Stefano Coletti 93 2. Felipe Nasr 76 3. Fabio Leimer 54 4. Robin Frijns 37 5. Sam Bird 33 6. Jolyon Palmer 31 7. Alexander Rossi 27 8. James Calado 24 9. Tom Dillmann 22 10. Johnny Cecotto Jr 19 Pos Team Points 1. Carlin 107 2. Rapax 101 3. Racing Engineering 64 4. Hilmer Motorsport 56 5. Russian Time 55
A stellar start for Aaro Vainio helped the Finn to a welcome GP3 Series sprint race victory at Barcelona.
The Koiranen GP racer spent the duration under pressure from teammate and poleman Kevin Korjus, eventually taking the win by 1.8 seconds.
Patric Niederhauser finished completed the podium following a late move on yesterday’s race winner Tio Ellinas.
Vainio jumped from 4th on the grid to the lead before the first corner, as Korjus and fellow front row man David Fumanelli proved sluggish off the line.
A brief safety car period shortly after race start gave the drivers an opportunity to calm the wear on their Pirelli tyres; however upon the release of the green flag on lap 3, Vainio held his own.
Although Korjus rarely sat underneath the rear wing of Vainio, his presence throughout ensured the race leader could not relax; however the Finn did not panic either, as he ran to the chequered flag and full points.
Niederhauser followed yesterday’s runner-up spot with another podium, but was helped a touch when David Fumanelli removed Nick Yelloly from the action with a punt up the rear. Fumanelli would receive a 20-seacond post race penalty as a result, dropping him to 17th place.
Niederhauser, who was running 7th from the start, also moved by Conor Daly on the same lap, before driving by Yelloly’s disabled car. Fumanelli received damage making a pass on lap 13 relatively easy.
Despite a severe shortage of grip, Ellinas doggedly fought to keep Niederhauser at bay succeeding for several laps, until the Swiss pilot slotted by with three laps remaining.
Ellinas continued on to finish 4th ahead of Fumanelli; however Fumanelli’s penalty promotes Daly to 5th. Carlos Sainz Jr was next up after passing Jack Harvey for 7th on lap 14 – unfortunately Sainz Jr’s car was found to be underweight and the Spaniard was disqualified, giving Harvey 6th spot.
Lewis Williamson held off a group of cars at the flag to take 7th. The Scot spent much of the race being hounded by Giovanni Venturini (8th), Adderly Fong and Luis Sa Silva, only for the latter pair to drop away as the tyres did the same. With Fong and Sa Silva falling backward, Alex Fontana claimed 9th, just two-tenths up on Eric Lichtenstein.
There was plenty of bumping and grinding on the opening lap, as Robert Visoiu bashed the rear of Melville McKee in the turn 7/8 chicane, bringing out a two-lap safety car. Visoiu had 20 seconds added post-race in lieu of a drive through penalty.
Like yesterday, speed and consistency fell away along with the grip from the quick wearing Pirelli’s, with laps at the end some 6-7 seconds shy of early race pace; however degradation was spread evenly throughout the field.
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 2; 17 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Aaro Vainio Koiranen 28m44.420s 2. Kevin Korjus Koiranen + 1.808s 3. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer + 6.948s 4. Tio Ellinas Manor + 14.048s 5. David Fumanelli Trident + 15.234s 6. Conor Daly ART + 15.469s 7. Carlos Sainz Jr MW Arden + 16.085s 8. Jack Harvey ART + 17.853s 9. Lewis Williamson Bamboo + 20.916s 10. Giovanni Venturini Trident + 21.704s 11. Alex Fontana Jenzer + 22.088s 12. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin + 22.355s 13. Adderly Fong Status + 22.924s 14. Luis Sa Silva Carlin + 25.239s 15. Samin Gomez Jenzer + 25.419s 16. Facu Regalia ART + 25.968s 17. Dino Zamparelli Manor + 26.851s 18. Patrick Kujala Koiranen + 38.111s 19. Robert Visoiu MW Arden + 40.758s 20. Carmen Jorda Bamboo + 45.568s Retirements: Josh Webster Status 14 laps Emanuele Zonzini Trident 12 laps Nick Yelloly Carlin 12 laps Jimmy Eriksson Status 10 laps Ryan Cullen Manor 6 laps Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 5 laps Melville McKee Bamboo 0 laps
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 2) Pos Driver Points 1. Tio Ellinas 39 2. Patric Niederhauser 28 3. Aaro Vainio 25 4. Conor Daly 21 5. Kevin Korjus 18 6. Nick Yelloly 12 7. Jack Harvey 12 8. David Fumanelli 6 9. Lewis Williamson 2 10. Robert Visoiu 2 Pos Teams Points 1. Koiranen GP 43 2. Marussia Manor 39 3. ART Grand Prix 33 4. Jenzer Motorsport 29 5. Carlin 12
Tio Ellinas claimed a frantic victory in the opening GP3 race of the season at Barcelona today.
With shot tyres, the Cypriot barely held Patric Niederhauser and Conor Daly at bay in the final laps, as the trio finished covered only by nine-tenths.
Knowing the tyres may go off quickly, Ellinas surged into an early banker lead, heading Niederhauser by 3.8 seconds after six laps.
The gap hovered at that for a few tours, before Ellinas’ Pirelli’s gave way, allowing Niederhauser to close the gap, yet Niederhauser too was struggling for grip, making the attack as difficult as the defence and contributing somewhat to his finishing 2nd, just 0.428s behind Ellinas.
As laptimes fell from the 1:37’s to 1:41’s late on, the conservative Daly closed in, taking over six seconds from the leading pair in the final four laps; however the American ran out of time, closing to within 0.94s of Ellinas as the chequered flag flew.
In the pack, the action was coming thick and fast, as drivers up to ten drivers slipped in and out of various tyre wear phases.
From there, Carlin’s Nick Yelloly was next to the flag, coming in a healthy 4th. The Englishman lost bucket loads of time behind MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat – seemingly the first to feel the pain of destroyed Pirelli’s – as did several members of the pack behind him, including Aaro Vainio (5th), who in turn enjoyed a solid gap to Jack Harvey (6th) and David Fumanelli (7th).
Kevin Korjus recovered from qualifying penalty somewhat to finish 8th, taking the reverse grid pole. The Estonian led a large train of cars across the line, with Robert Visoiu, Alex Fontana, Lewis Williamson and Giovanni Venturini all just missing out on the prized 8th place.
Dino Zamparelli takes a grid penalty into tomorrow’s race, ensuring he starts from last place. In an attempt to overtake Korjus, the Anglo-Italian collided with the Koiranen racer two laps from the end, with Zamparelli retiring there and then – as noted, Korjus continued to 8th spot.
By the end of the race, Kvyat came home 20th, with just the backmarker group of Ryan Cullen, Carmen Jorda and Adderly Fong behind.
Kvyat’s tyres began to give up as early as lap five and by the end of 17, the Russian was dropping close to eight seconds per lap to the leaders. It marks a new age for GP3 and it appears conservation is the key to success – whether drivers like it or not.
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 1; 17 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Tio Ellinas Manor 28m06.022s 2. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer + 0.428s 3. Conor Daly ART + 0.940s 4. Nick Yelloly Carlin + 9.726s 5. Aaro Vainio Koiranen + 16.925s 6. Jack Harvey ART + 23.006s 7. David Fumanelli Trident + 23.572s 8. Kevin Korjus Koiranen + 28.615s 9. Robert Visoiu MW Arden + 29.053s 10. Alex Fontana Jenzer + 29.426s 11. Lewis Williamson Bamboo + 29.669s 12. Giovanni Venturini Trident + 30.832s 13. Luis Sa Silva Carlin + 37.044s 14. Melville McKee Bamboo + 37.277s 15. Carlos Sainz Jr MW Arden + 51.669s 16. Samin Gomez Jenzer + 51.949s 17. Emanuele Zonzini Trident + 52.325s 18. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin + 52.759s 19. Jimmy Eriksson Status + 53.858s 20. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden + 1m08.691s 21. Ryan Cullen Manor + 1m09.967s 22. Carmen Jorda Bamboo + 1m10.626s 23. Adderly Fong Status + 1m14.398s 24. Facu Regalia ART + 2 laps Retirements: Dino Zamparelli Manor +3 laps Patrick Kujala Koiranen +7 laps Josh Webster Status +11 laps
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 1) Pos Driver Points 1. Tio Ellinas 31 2. Patric Niederhauser 18 3. Conor Daly 15 4. Nick Yelloly 12 5. Aaro Vainio 10 6. Jack Harvey 8 7. David Fumanelli 6 8. Kevin Korjus 4 9. Robert Visoiu 2 10. Alex Fontana 1 Pos Team Points 1. Marussia Manor 31 2. ART Grand Prix 23 3. Jenzer Motorsport 19 4. Koiranen GP 14 5. Carlin 12
Robin Frijns drove a pitch perfect race at Barcelona this evening to assume his first GP2 victory of the season.
The Hilmer Motorsport man took the win ahead of Carlin pairing Felipe Nasr and Jolyon Palmer; however the latter would lose 3rd to the stewards.
Starting 8th, Frijns – the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion – stopped at the end the end of the sixth tour, changing to the harder Pirelli tyres.
Emerging from the pits in 18th, the Dutchman edged up the order as tyre strategies evolved around him, eventually rising to 4th as Johnny Cecotto Jr, Tom Dillmann and Mitch Evans ran long first stints.
By lap 27, the road ahead finally cleared, allowing Frijns to claim the win, just 3.3s ahead of the charging Nasr.
For Nasr, runner-up represented an extension of his winless streak in his GP2 career. The Carlin racer initially lost out to Stefano Coletti at the start, however he would barge passed the hesitant Stephane Richelmi to regain 3rd.
Following his lap nine stop for fresh tyres, Nasr’s drove a quiet, conservative race until the latter stages, when his began to come alive. Moves on passed Alexander Rossi (lap 25), Coletti (lap 31) and Sam Bird (lap 33) brought Nasr to the rear of Palmer, but in passing his Carlin stablemate, the pair clashed, damaging Palmer’s floor. Nasr chased after Frijns, closing the gap to 1.7s on the penultimate tour; however the Dutch leader pulled away on the final lap to solidify the result.
It would get no better for Palmer. The Englishman collided with Bird on lap 36, pitching the Russian Time racer into retirement and earning Palmer a 20-second penalty, demoting him to 10th. This marked an unfortunate end to a decent for Palmer, who – like Frijns – pitted early, claiming positions on the road as rivals succumbed to tyre degradation.
With Palmer penalised, GP2 returnee Jon Lancaster took 3rd ahead of Coletti, while Dillmann made his long early stint work to secure 5th, despite being punted off at turn four by Richelmi.
Rossi enjoyed a quiet race to close the top six, just four-tenths up on Kevin Ceccon, while Cecotto Jr’s long opening stint could not match Dillmann’s similar efforts – the Venezuelan was classified 8th. Rio Haryanto took 9th, with the penalised Palmer now in 10th place.
It was not good day for poleman Marcus Ericsson who led in the initial running. Following his stop, Ericsson chanced upon a gaggle of cars in the final corners, resulting in a collision with Bird and Kevin Giovesi. The damage would see Ericsson drop out and would earn Bird a grid penalty for the Sprint race – he will now start 25th.
Nathanaël Berthon also picked up a grid penalty for somersaulting over Sergio Canamasas and Dillmann on lap five.
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Feature Race; 37 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Robin Frijns Hilmer 1h00m38.896s 2. Felipe Nasr Carlin + 3.316s 3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin + 12.290s 4. Jon Lancaster Hilmer + 12.609s 5. Stefano Coletti Rapax + 13.329s 6. Tom Dillmann Russian Time + 14.325s 7. Alexander Rossi Caterham + 17.160s 8. Kevin Ceccon Trident + 17.504s 9. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden + 24.013s 10. Rio Haryanto Addax + 32.024s 11. Daniel Abt ART + 32.823s 12. Mitch Evans Arden + 35.748s 13. Julian Leal Racing Engineering + 39.922s 14. Jake Rosenzweig Addax + 40.999s 15. Stefano Richelmi DAMS + 42.690s 16. Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport + 43.102s 17. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport + 54.532s 18. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 56.946s 19. Simon Trummer Rapax + 57.935s 20. Rene Binder Lazarus + 1 lap 21. Sam Bird Russian Time + 4 laps Retirements: Kevin Giovesi Lazarus +26 laps Marcus Ericsson DAMS +27 laps Sergio Canamasas Caterham +32 laps Nathanael Berthon Trident +33 laps James Calado ART +36 laps
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Feature Race) Pos Driver Points 1. Stefano Coletti 76 2. Felipe Nasr 66 3. Fabio Leimer 54 4. Sam Bird 33 5. Robin Frijns 25 6. James Calado 24 7. Alexander Rossi 23 8. Jolyon Palmer 23 9. Tom Dillmann 22 10. Jon Lancaster 17 Pos Team Points 1. Carlin 89 2. Rapax 84 3. Racing Engineering 64 4. Russian Time 55 5. Hilmer Motorsport 44
With only a single free practice committed into the GP3 Series books for 2013, four drivers have already found themselves in trouble with the stewards.
Koiranen GP pairing Patrick Kujala and Kevin Korjus were joined in the bad books by Carlos Sainz Jr (MW Arden) and Alex Fontana (Jenzer Motorsport) when all four were deemed to have ignored yellow flags during today’s free practice session.
Each competitor will be demoted ten places following tomorrow morning’s session.
It marks a difficult starter for the quartet, as they lead into a GP3 season made difficult by the new engine / aero package and fast wearing tyres.