Serralles & Lynn win as Jaafar regains championship lead…
There was drama aplenty at Silverstone at the penultimate meeting of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season, with race wins today for Felix Serralles and Alex Lynn, the latter becoming the eighth different victor this year.
Jazeman Jaafar ended the weekend on top in the championship, the Malaysian today adding a brace of podium finishes to his Saturday race win to build a slender title-race lead of six points with only three races remaining on the calendar, at Donington Park at the end of the month.
Felix Serralles claimed a narrow victory – his fifth of the season for Fortec – in a fraught reverse-grid sprint race. He was gifted the lead on the opening lap when pole position man Pipo Derani and Jack Harvey, who started P2, clashed at Brooklands. Serralles picked his way through the incident, pursued by his team-mate Alex Lynn, as Harvey slipped to third. Derani was forced to retire to the pits with suspension damage.
“I was past him on the outside going into Brooklands,” said Harvey, “and he hit me in the sidepod and pushed me off. I was half a car length in front.” Alas for Jack, race stewards took a different view having studied video of the incident: they handed Harvey a 30-second penalty. The also penalised him with a five-place grid drop for this afternoon’s race for weaving to block Derani in a separate incident. Harvey’s team, Carlin, has appealed the time penalty and the results remain provisional.
After the first-lap incident there followed a superb three-car battle for victory as Serralles, his car clearly not handling as well as those of his pursuers, battled to maintain an advantage. Lynn was trying to fight for the lead at the same time as defending second from a determined Harvey, but was more than equal to the task.
Alas it all went wrong for Alex on the penultimate lap at Aintree corner, when Serralles put two wheels on the dirt and almost lost control. Lynn had no choice but to spin in avoidance, rejoining sixth.
Serralles explained on the podium: “It was a tough race. Alex had a better car; I was struggling a bit with mine. I didn’t spin, I was just struggling with the car and there was nothing I could do at that point.”
Added Harvey: “I saw Alex spinning back across the track and thought ‘Oh dear, I might collect him’ but I was able to avoid him.” Harvey finished a close second on the road but dropped to 10th following his penalty.
Saturday winner Jazeman Jaafar made a superb start from ninth on the grid to slot into the top six on the opening lap, then passed Pietro Fantin for fifth next time around and was promoted to fourth by Derani’s demise. Lynn’s spin boosted the Malaysian to third on the road and he was delighted: “The podium was my target; it was a hard fight on the same tyres I used yesterday but I got it and it’s important for the championship.” Harvey’s penalty promoted Jaafar to second post-race.
Fantin posted fastest lap of the race on his way to what became third ahead of Double R’s Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Lynn, Carlos Sainz and Hannes van Asseldonk, with Australians Geoff Uhrhane and Nick McBride completing the top nine.
Harry Tincknell fell to the back after serving a drive-through penalty: the Carlin man had suffered a problem on the green flag lap and should have started from the back, but didn’t.
T-Sport’s Pedro Pablo Calbimonte lifted the National class lead from Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee on the second lap but threw it off on lap five to give Padayachee a clear run to the flag ahead of Spike Goddard, who was slow off the startline.
“I was putting pressure on Pedro and he made a mistake, ran on to the dirt out of Maggotts and spun. Compared to yesterday this was a much better race for me,” said Padayachee.
After the disappointment of losing his Saturday victory in the stewards’ room, there were no mistakes today from Alex Lynn, who claimed his maiden British F3 race victory in a thriller of a feature race on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
Lynn did it the hard way, for although he led away from pole position he slipped to fourth on the opening lap and had to battle back to the front and then past the car of Jazeman Jaafar three laps from the end to secure the win. Jaafar finished a close second to move back into the championship lead with just three races remaining.
Alex made a good enough start but struggled in the headwind down Hangar straight: “I made a really good start,” he said, “but I think I had too much wing on and there was a massive headwind coming out of Copse. Jazeman got a pretty big tow on me and had too much straightline speed for me to respond.”
Lynn also slipped behind the cars of Harry Tincknell and Carlos Sainz, but regained a place from Sainz next time around and unseated Tincknell from second on lap three. By this stage Jaafar was 2.5s ahead; within three laps Lynn had whittled that down to half a second.
There followed an 11-lap tussle between Jaafar and Lynn for victory which was settled in Alex’s favour under braking for Brooklands on the 18th lap. “I genuinely thought my race was over. I can’t quite believe I caught him back up again, let alone passed him.”
Jaafar was far from despondent not to have won. The Malaysian came to Silverstone 20 points off the championship lead and leaves the circuit with a six-point advantage. “The goal was to bounce back after all the points I lost earlier in the year,” said Jazeman. “We never stopped pushing, had a bit of luck and it turned out a good weekend. I’m glad I’m leading the championship and I’m looking forward to Donington – it will be an exciting weekend.”
The man closest on points to Jaafar left Silverstone in an ambulance. Felix Serralles was engaged in a long battle over seventh place with the other man in the title hunt, Jack Harvey, which at times saw both men taking wide lines and excursions. In one such incident a couple of laps from the flag Serralles’ car went airborne after hitting a trackside obstruction; it was a heavy landing and Felix was sufficiently in pain post-race that he had to be carefully extracted from his car; he was taken to hospital for checks.
There was a major battle also over third place, between Tincknell and Fortec’s Hannes van Asseldonk, which went the Englishman’s way after many laps of tough defending. “That was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done,” said Tincknell. “I was pushing as hard as I could and in the last four or five laps Hannes was really strong; I’ve never battled so hard to stay in front.”
After losing his early third to Lynn, Sainz was then caught napping by van Asseldonk at Village on the 10th lap. Carlos continued to fifth, ahead of his Carlin team-mate Pietro Fantin, with Serralles seventh after passing Harvey into Copse on the final lap. Double R drivers Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Geoff Uhrhane completed the top 10.
Spike Goddard led the National class from start to finish ahead of his title rival Duvashen Padayachee, the Australian frustrated to have been unable to pass the International cars of Pipo Derani and Nick McBride, running 11th and 12th, which allowed Padayachee to close to half a second behind by the end.