The British Formula 3 series had the honour of being the first to race on the new Silverstone Grand Prix layout and it was 20-year-old James Calado that made the best of it in both qualifying and the first race.
The Worcestershire driver, whose career has thus far been furthered by the Racing Steps Foundation, got away well from fellow front row man Oli Webb off the line, holding his lead as the field powered around Copse corner.
Not all made clean starts however – Raikkonen Robertson Racing driver Felipe Nasr stalled his Dallara on the grid, only to be rammed from behind by National Class driver, Menasheh Idafar. Both retired on the spot with heavy damage.
It mattered little to Calado – while Webb applied pressure to the race leader for the duration, Calado refused to crack and crossed the line first to take the chequered flag after 14 laps.
Webb trailed the victor by only one second, but he had a somewhat similar margin over Daisuke Nakajima, whom also had a 1.2 second lead over 4th place Jean-Eric Vergne.
Carlos Huertas finished 5th ahead of guest driver Esteban Gutierrez, driving for ART Grand Prix for this one-off event. Due to his status as a guest driver, Gutierrez was ineligible for championship points; however Jazeman Jaafar, Gabriel Dias, Adriano Buzaid and Rupert Svendsen-Cook al did enough to register scores.
With Idafar out of contention following his start-line collision, James Cole took the National Class victory, some 5.6 seconds ahead of Luiz Razia.
Round 2, Race 1
1 James CALADO Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 27m 01.234s (14 laps)
2 Oli WEBB Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +1.015s
3 Daisuke NAKAJIMA RR Dallara-Mercedes +2.143s
4 Jean-Eric VERGNE Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +3.308s
5 Carlos HUERTAS RR Dallara-Mercedes +6.180s
6 *Esteban GUTIERREZ ART Dallara-Mercedes +6.921s
7 Jazeman JAAFAR Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.613s
8 Gabriel DIAS Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +9.448s
9 Adriano BUZAID Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +10.852s
10 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +16.711s
1 James COLE T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +44.234s
2 Luiz RAZIA West-Tec Dallara-Mugen Honda +49.808s
2 Alexander SIMS ART Dallara-Mercedes +17.375s
3 Jim PLA ART Dallara-Mercedes +32.698s
Before the cars lined-up on the grid, the skies opened up above Silverstone and in typical British fashion soaked the Northamptonshire circuit.
It meant little grip and wet tyres across the board, but where race 1 winner James Calado excelled in the dry conditions of the previous day, he would struggle from his 8th on the grid for the second run of the weekend. Calado was not helped by a mid-race fluff in the Maggots/Becketts complex, that would drop him a few spots in the order.
In fact, it was guest driver Alexander Sims that made the best of the poor conditions. Despite starting from 11th place, the F3 EuroSeries regular zoomed up to 5th place by the end of the first tour.
Just ahead of Sims into 4th was Jean-Eric Vergne, who had also had a good start the third row. Vergne battled for a short time with Daisuke Nakajima, but the Japanese driver soon dispensed with the Frenchman to begin tackling the fast starting Esteban Gutierrez.
Nakajima would take 2nd off of Gutierrez, but he would be powerless to hold off the charging Sims. By the third tour of the damp Silverstone, Sims had taken Vergne, Jazeman Jaafar and Gutierrez, before relinquishing 2nd spot from Nakajima.
Up until now, Gabriel Dias had a quiet time out front as he tiptoed around in the treacherous conditions, but even he could not hold off Sims, as the 22-year-old quickly pulled up to the back of the race leader.
At the start of the fifth lap and with no Championship points on the line, Sims tried a ballsy move around the outside of Dias in Copse Corner and pulled it off – a marvellous piece of race craft from the ART Grand Prix driver.
Yet the lead was only fleeting. As Sims entered the Maggots/Becketts complex, the young man wobbled, letting Dias through, albeit only temporarily. Once again, Sims applied pressure and before the lap was complete, he had taken the lead once again – this time he would keep it to the flag.
If there was some disappointment for the pole man to lose his lead, fellow front row starter Jaafar must have much worse. The Malaysian struggled for grip in the wet, dropping position after position in the early running. Following a short-lived battle with Vergne, Jaafar settled into 7th place, while Calado, Adriano Buzaid, Carlos Huertas, Felipe Nasr, Alex Brundle and Oli Webb fought eachother for places just behind him.
Sadly for Webb, the race would end prematurely in a pool of muddy water. The Fortec Motorsport driver found himself punted out the race on the eighth lap as he rounded Club Corner; however instead of finding gravel, the 19-year-old discovered the run-off area flooded by rain water.
Sims took the race regardless by a full 8.2 seconds, but with Sims being unable to claim Championship points, it was 2nd placed Dias that took the full score home.
Nakajima secured another podium with his 3rd spot, just ahead of the next invited driver, Gutierrez. Vergne never troubled the top-four after the early laps as he claimed 5th position, just 0.3 of-a-second ahead of Buzaid; however there was a huge gap back to 7th place onward – Jaafar won that particular battle ahead of Huertas (8th), Calado (9th) and Nasr (10th).
Menasheh Idafar took the National Class win ahead of James Cole.
Round 2, Race 2
1 *Alexander SIMS ART Dallara-Mercedes 22m 05.371s (10 laps)
2 Gabriel DIAS Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +8.288s
3 Daisuke NAKAJIMA RR Dallara-Mercedes +9.386s
4 *Esteban GUTIERREZ ART Dallara-Mercedes +9.441s
5 Jean-Eric VERGNE Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.679s
6 Adriano BUZAID Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.949s
7 Jazeman JAAFAR Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +22.506s
8 Carlos HUERTAS RR Dallara-Mercedes +23.309s
9 James CALADO Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +26.829s
10 Felipe NASR RR Dallara-Mercedes +27.874s
1 Menasheh IDAFAR T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +46.798s
2 James COLE T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +48.800s
3 Luiz RAZIA West-Tec Dallara-Mugen Honda +58.023s
3 Jim PLA ART Dallara-Mercedes +29.589s
A dry track welcomed the British Formula 3 runners for the final race of the weekend with James Calado once again lining up on pole ahead of Oli Webb. This time William Buller surprised all with a lap good enough for the second row – the 17-year-old squeezed his Hitech Racing machine ahead of Felipe Nasr.
Indeed Buller made an excellent start from his 3rd place, claiming 2nd spot ahead of Webb as the field ran through Copse. Pole man Calado remained unperturbed as he sprinted away from the chasing pack.
Sadly for Buller, the third lap would see the young man begin to slide down the order, as first Webb got by and then Daisuke Nakajima. It had been a good opening few tours for the Japanese driver – having qualified 5th, he had slotted by the slow starting Nasr off the line. By the end of the third tour, Nakajima had even moved passed Webb to claim 2nd place; however Webb would not relent, claiming his 2nd spot back soon afterward.
Within a few laps, Buller was losing positions rapidly as Nasr, Adriano Buzaid and points-leader, Jean-Eric Vergne all swooped in. Soon afterward, Buller had fallen to the fringe of the top-ten where he would remain.
Rio Haryanto was less successful with his overtakes – the Indonesian attempted a move on National Class runner Menasheh Idafar, but only managed to clatter the side of the T-Sport managed machine. It would result in a spin for Idafar and a deranged right-front wheel for Haryanto.
Come the 8th lap of the race and the first safety car of the weekend would emerge. Suffering mechanical issues, GP2 regular Luiz Razia pulled to the pitwall on the start/finish straight – with the track partially blocked, it was quickly neutralised.
The race restarted on the 11th lap, with Webb pushing Calado hard, but once the front man had settled himself, he was gone.
Guest driver Alexander Sims was feeling somewhat more feisty however – following his race 2 win, the Briton was busy cutting through the race 3 order. A move on Vergne took him into the top-six and he would soon take Buzaid too. Sims also stole 4th spot from Nakajima, but not before Nasr robbed a podium spot from the Japanese driver first with a fantastic wheel-to-wheel pass into Copse – despite a promising start for the Raikkonen Robertson Racing pilot, Nakajima was dropping back somewhat.
However, it would soon become clear that Nakajima’s car was struggling – on the final lap, the 21-year-old pulled over to the side of the circuit as his sickly Mercedes engine lost its fight for life. Race over.
It was also a premature finish for Carlos Huertas. Mired in the pack for much of the race, the Colombian attempted an ill-fated move down the inside of Alex Brundle at Vale Corner – the resulting collision destroyed Huertas’ right front suspension and caused Brundle to spin. The young Englishman would pit at the end of the lap for a new nose, leaving him dead last.
Calado had no such problems. Once he settled after the safety car, the Briton was untroubled, as was 2nd place Webb – indeed it was Webb’s fourth runner-up finish in six races as he drew slightly closer to Vergne in the title hunt. Calado’s pair of victories, brings him up to third in the Championship.
Nasr claimed the final podium place, just ahead of guest driver, Sims (4th), while Buzaid (5th) led home a pack consisting of Vergne (6th), Jaafar (7th), Dias (8th) and Esteban Gutierrez (9th). Some distance behind them, Buller took a lonely 10th position.
James Cole won the National Class, only 0.7 of-a-second ahead of Menasheh Idafar to jump into the lead of that particular title race.
Round 2, Race 3
1 James CALADO Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 41m 03.787s (20 laps)
2 Oli WEBB Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +1.056s
3 Felipe NASR RR Dallara-Mercedes +2.893s
4 *Alexander SIMS ART Dallara-Mercedes +3.943s
5 Adriano BUZAID Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +6.563s
6 Jean-Eric VERGNE Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +7.250s
7 Jazeman JAAFAR Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.895s
8 Gabriel DIAS Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +9.667s
9 *Esteban GUTIERREZ ART Dallara-Mercedes +10.540s
10 William BULLER Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +15.928s
1 James COLE T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +33.112s
2 Menasheh IDAFAR T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +33.811s
3 Jim PLA ART Dallara-Mercedes +18.930s
Race Rating: 3 out of 5
|2010 British F3 Championship (Round 2)|
|2010 F3 National Championship (Round 2)|