Prema Powerteam’s Raffaele Marciello secured his third FIA European Formula 3 victory of the season at a sunny, but damp Silverstone.
Following a chaotic start, which necessitated a brief safety car period, the Italian fought with first Alex Lynn (also Prema) and later Mucke’s Felix Rosenqvist to eventually claim the full score.
Lining up on the wetter side of the track, Marciello initially fell behind the Lynn / Rosenqvist pairing, as a stunning start from the latter saw him jump into an early lead.
With most cars tiptoeing through the early damp stages on dry tyres, there was an element of calamity about the opening tours, especially when one feeds 28 young drivers into the mix. A number never made it around the first five kilometres, as wheels slipped on wet patches and puddle spots.
Of the field, Mitch Gilbert, Spike Goddard, Eddie Cheever and Michael Lewis (who appeared to share harsh words trackside), Josh Hill, Dennis van de Laar and Sven Muller were missing at the end of the opening tour, while Roy Nissany completed a couple laps under safety car conditions, albeit minus a rear wing.
Strewn cars forced the call of the safety car, neutralising the race for three laps.
Marciello made relatively quick work of Lynn, passing the Englishman at the safety car line into Village corner as the green flags emerged. As they tussled, Rosenqvist drew a two-second lead, but the charging Marciello cut that to ribbons in a matter of laps.
From two seconds on lap five, the gap closed to 1.5s (lap 6), then 0.9s (lap 7) and 0.5s (lap 9) and finally 0.3s on lap 10, yet this would be no easy move.
Under Rosenqvist’s rear wing, the Italian racer pulled to one side and then the other, attempting to distract the normally unflappable Swede.
The first real challenge came on lap 14, with Marciello attempting to duck under Rosenqvist at Village, before trying again into Brooklands. On both occasions, the Swede slammed the door – although not so viciously as to attract unwanted attention from the stewards.
Where yesterday Rosenqvist used the outside of Brooklands and the inside of Luffield as an attacking spot, on this occasion, he was using the outside-to-inside switch to hold attackers at bay.
It worked – for a time.
On the next lap around Marciello sealed the deal. Coming through the Maggots / Becketts complex, Rosenqvist got a poor exit, while Marciello slung his way out of the turns in perfect harmony with his Prema machine.
It gave the Italian a nice run down the Hangar Straight, allowing him to blast around the outside of Rosenqvist on the approach to Stowe. It was a strictly emphatic pass – Rosenqvist’s poor exit had robbed him top end speed to challenge – but it was enough to secure the result.
With only two laps remaining, Marciello pulled a 1.5s lead, but it wasn’t that necessary – Rosenqvist had fallen too far behind to assume a challenge. “I was third at the start, but I was able to overtake Alex soon after the safety car phase to move up into second place,” said the Ferrari junior driver, who now enjoys a 36.5 point lead in the title race. “Then, I tried to close up to Felix, which I did. The battle for victory with him was tough and overtaking him wasn’t easy. Only when he made a mistake, I was able to get past.”
Understandably Rosenqvist was disappointed with the outcome; however the Swede has now taken 2nd in the championship with six races in the bag. “Raffaele put me under massive pressure and I tried to do everything to bring first place home. I had the impression that I was faster at a damp track, but the more it dried out, the better Raffaele got. With two laps remaining, I made a slight mistake and I lost the lead.”
Shimmering in the distance was Lynn. The Englishman had enjoyed a solid race, but simply could not maintain the pace of the leading pair – although the split was merely tenths and hundredths per lap, rather than anything remotely greater.
Lynn’s pace was clearly there, but there may be more to come from the impressive Essex-man when Prema hit their more experienced circuits on the DTM round. “To be honest, I am disappointed, because when starting from pole, you want more than third place. Raffaele, Felix and I were clearly faster than the rest of the field, but unfortunately, I was slightly slower than Raffaele and Felix.”
Had the race been longer, Lynn may have had to face the charging Felix Serralles (Fortec). The Puerto Rican started a lowly 19th after a unfortunate run in a wet-dry qualifying; however the opening lap mania (leaving him 9th) and some top class work saw him rise up the order.
As soon as the race restarted, Serralles made easy work of Jann Mardenborough (Carlin) and Lucas Auer (Prema) – both lap 6 – before slipping by Jordan King (Carlin), Lucas Wolf (URD) and Will Buller (T-Sport) on the following lap! Through the middle section of the race, Serralles set fastest lap after fastest lap, but just fell short of the podium when time ran out.
Buller took a solid 5th, leading home a tough battle with King (6th), Auer (7th) and Mardenborough (8th) – the latter of whom proved to be very impressive in what is a very young career.
After the highs of yesterday, Harry Tincknell had a slightly subdued day today bringing his Carlin to the flag in 9th, while teammate Nicholas Latifi finished 10th, making it four Carlin’s in the top ten. It was an unfortunate end for Wolf, who took a chance on wet tyres and was running 4th when they went away – Wolf took 17th at the flag.
2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship (Rd 2, Race, 16 laps) Pos Driver Team Time / Gap 1. Raffaele Marciello Prema-Mercedes 35:13.207s 2. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke-Mercedes +1.511 3. Alex Lynn Prema-Mercedes +4.674 4. Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes +5.460 5. Will Buller Threebond w/T-Sport-Nissan +19.919 6. Jordan King Carlin-Volkswagen +20.688 7. Lucas Auer Prema-Mercedes +21.335 8. Jann Mardenborough Carlin-Volkswagen +21.641 9. Harry Tincknell Carlin-Volkswagen +28.931 10. Nicholas Latifi Carlin-Volkswagen +29.448 11. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R-Mercedes +46.246 12. Mans Grenhagen van Amersfoort-Volkswagen +56.110 13. Gary Thompson Romeo Ferraris-Mercedes +1:18.887 14. Tom Blomqvist EuroInternational-Mercedes +1:27.555 15. Tatiana Calderon Double R-Mercedes +1:32.043 16. Andre Rudersdorf ma.con-Volkswagen +1:44.645 17. Lucas Wolf URD Rennsport-Mercedes +1:52.136 18. Sean Gelael Double R-Mercedes +1 lap Retirements: Pipo Derani Fortec-Mercedes +6 laps Sandro Zeller Zeller-Mercedes +6 laps Roy Nissany Mucke-Mercedes +13 laps Dennis van der Laar van Amersfoort-Volkswagen +15 laps Michael Lewis Mucke-Mercedes +16 laps Sven Muller ma.con-Volkswagen +16 laps Spike Goddard Threebond w/T-Sport-Nissan +16 laps Eddie Cheever III Prema-Mercedes +16 laps Mitchell Gilbert Mucke-Mercedes +16 laps Josh Hill Fortec-Mercedes +16 laps
2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 3) Drivers' Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Raffaele Marciello 106.5 2. Felix Rosenqvist 70 3. Harry Tincknell 63 4. Alex Lynn 60.5 5. Lucas Auer 57 6. Pascal Wehrlein 49 7. Will Buller 33 8. Felix Serralles 30 9. Tom Blomqvist 26.5 10. Jordan King 15 Teams' Championship Pos Team Points 1. Prema Powerteam 175 2. Mucke Motorsport 127 3. Carlin 94 4. Fortec 58 5. ThreeBond w/T-Sport 45