Kevin Magnussen cruised to victory in the opening British F3 race of the weekend at Silverstone.
It was a flag-to-flag run in very cool and overcast conditions for the Dane, who took advantage of his earlier pole position to claim full points in the thirty-minute event.
After a single tour, Magnussen had already claimed a 1.5 second lead, eventually stretching that gap to 8.02 seconds as he crossed the finish line.
With the possibility of 2nd place in the Championship growing large, Magnussen was circumspect about the job at hand.
“It was very good. I had a good start, good first lap, a good car and pushed all the way through. It was amazing. You can overtake here, but it is difficult. I need to score points tomorrow and get a result and in the third race, I have to nail it again.”
Magnussen had little trouble from behind throughout. On the other hand, runner-up Scott Pye was somewhat more occupied.
The Double R racer beat the hamstrung Felipe Nasr (Carlin) off the line, taking 2nd into the first corner ahead of the Brazilian thanks to a sluggish clutch. The former British Formula Ford champion was certainly pleased with his result:
“It was all about the start. We ran a slightly different strategy to Kevin and the Carlin boys, they seemed to run quite a bit of downforce and had I passed Kevin [Magnussen] off the start, he would have struggled to pass me back. Unfortunately he held that gap and through the infield and was able to pull away enough on the straights that I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Battling for several laps, the pair stayed close, until Nasr’s own mirrors filled up with the threatening image of Jazeman Jaafar in 4th. Nasr was able to hold the Malaysian off and as they crossed the line, the trio did so only 2.5 seconds apart. Nasr, however, rued his race start:
“There was a problem with the clutch – I couldn’t get a very good start, because I couldn’t feel the bite, so I had a poor start and dropped down to 3rd. I was trying to follow [Scott] Pye, but that was making my tyres worse.”
Irrespective of not passing Nasr, it was a good result from Jaafar who jumped from 7th to 5th off the line, taking 4th from Fortec’s Lucas Foresti five laps in.
Nasr also kept teammate Rupert Svendsen-Cook behind in the opening corners; however Svendsen-Cook lost control of his Volkswagen-powered Dallara exiting Maggots, burying himself into the gravel trap.
Foresti continued to the flag untroubled in 5th, although teammate Will Buller drove an adventurous race to 6th place.
The County Down man was at the head of a five-car train across the finish line, with Carlos Huertas (7th, Carlin), Alexander Sims (8th, Motopark), Pietro Fantin (9th, Hitech) and Jack Harvey (10th, Carlin) all within three seconds of Buller.
The quintet fought hard for their respective positions, but found overtaking around the Grand Prix circuit next-to-impossible.
Harvey made tough work of the final points paying position. A battle with GP3-regular, Mitch Evans, in the early laps ended when the Australian spun off the circuit and into retirement.
Evans was on the receiving end of some tough treatment by Harvey on the opening lap. The Briton, seeing a threat from the precocious Evans, resorted to weaving on the Wellington Straight to hold the 17-year-old at bay.
Both Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) and Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec) received drive through penalties for exceeding track limits, dropping them down to 19th and 20th respectively.
Kotaro Sakurai was the only finisher behind them. The sole Rookie Class pilot crossed the line over one minute behind Magnussen, extending his lead in the Rookie Class.
Magnussen drew a 9th place starting position for the race two tomorrow morning.
2011 British F3 Round of Silverstone (Rd 10, Race 1) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW 28m34.986s 2. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc + 8.028s 3. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW + 9.376s 4. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 10.558s 5. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 14.907s 6. Will Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 23.027s 7. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 23.449s 8. Alexander Sims Double R Dallara-VW + 24.044s 9. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW + 24.556s 10. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 25.619s 11. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 29.948s 12. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 36.945s 13. Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW + 37.705s 14. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 40.705s 15. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 41.027s 16. Maxim Snegirev Hitech Dallara-VW + 45.288s 17. Guilherme Silva Hitech Dallara-VW + 47.267s (Invitational) 18. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 56.437s 19. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW + 56.688s 20. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc + 1m00.372s 21. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen + 1m08.097s (Rookie Class) Retirements: Mitch Evans Double R Dallara-Merc 6 laps Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW 1 lap 2011 British F3 Round of Silverstone (Rd 10, Race 1) Pos Driver Points International Class 1. Felipe Nasr 314 2. Kevin Magnussen 216 3. Carlos Huertas 200 4. William Buller 189 5. Jazeman Jaafar 185 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook 179 7. Lucas Foresti 155 8. Pietro Fantin 108 9. Jack Harvey 107 10. Scott Pye 81 11. Harry Tincknell 78 12. Riki Christodoulou 51 Rookie Class 1. Kotaro Sakurai 345 2. Bart Hylkema 214 3. Luca Orlandi 45