British F3


First spoils to Buller at Silverstone

Brit steers clear of trouble as Jones steals National class

Fortec Motorsports’ William Buller took the opening win of the 2013 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, with a solid eight second victory in race one at Silverstone on a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

It was Performance Racing Europe’s John Bryant-Meisner finished first on the road, but his invitation class status means the Swede doesn’t score points, despite taking the flag ahead of Buller.

Bryant-Meisner started from pole, but a slow start for fellow front-row starter Jordan King dropped the Carlin driver down the field, team-mate Nicholas Latifi taking up second place at King’s expense.

Canadian Latifi defended his position valiantly on the opening lap, but came under pressure immediately from Fortec Motorsport’s Felix Serralles. The Puerto Rican made a brave move around the outside through the high-speed Abbey corner, but the pair made contact at the loop when Latifi tried to respond, both dropping to last as they sat locked together in the middle of the track.

It was Buller that took up second place ahead of team-mate Felipe Guimaraes, but the latter was soon overpowered by both Carlin’s Jann Mardenborough and then King, who made an impressive recovery through the field following his slow getaway.

Twenty-year-old Buller then found himself under extreme pressure from the two Carlin drivers. GT-turned single-seater racer Mardenborough ran slightly wide following an attempt to overtake the former three-time British F3 race winner around the outside at Stowe corner; fellow F3 rookie King took full advantage and slipped through at Club. The battle continued as Mardenborough hung on through Village before fending off the Carlin driver’s next attack at Brooklands.

The battle between the two Carlin drivers ended prematurely following a move up the inside into the Village loop by King that resulted in contact; King retired to the pits while team-mate Mardenborough spun, retiring also with left-rear suspension damage.

Although now some ten seconds behind invitation class entrant Bryant-Meisner, Buller was a comfortable first in the International class ahead of his Brazilian team-mate, Guimaraes. Elsewhere, a drive-through penalty for Double R’s Antonio Giovinazzi for not respecting track limits dropped the Italian to fifth position, handing third to team-mate Sean Gelael and fourth to the third Double R Dallara-Mercedes of Tatiana Calderon who thrived amidst the surrounding pressure.

The race order remained that way until the chequered flag, Buller triumphing in the first race of the season from team-mate Guimaraes making it two Fortec drivers on the podium and a strong podium finish for Gelael, the youngest driver on the grid.

National Class pole-sitter Ed Jones survived a first-lap scare when a sideways moment sent him onto the grass exiting Becketts, but he recovered through to field to bring his West-Tec machine home first ahead of long-time race leader, CF Racing’s Sun Zheng, Jones dispatching fellow team-mate Cameron Twynham before snatching success from the Chinese driver in the dying moments of the race.

Mark Bailey Racing’s Alice Powell was another driver not to see the chequered flag, pulling off the race track with mechanical problems having battled with the National Class cars for much of the race.

The top eight finishers from race one will be reversed to decide the grid for race two tomorrow, . Sunday seeing two further 30-minute races, race two beginning at 12 pm while the third gets underway at 4:55 pm.

John Bryant-Meisner,  #51 Performance Racing Europe Dallara-Volkswagen (INV) (OTR Winner)
‘It’s a very good feeling. I made a great start, and then I was clear of the battles going on behind me, which meant I could get away. The car was exactly where I wanted it. Even without the boost the car was still quick, and actually felt more consistent.’

Ed Jones, #81 Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota (NAT) (Class Winner)
‘It didn’t get off to the best start, coming out of Becketts I hit the kerb and that put me off onto the grass so I dropped more or less to the back of the field. I had some good racing with people from then; Zheng was hard to do much about as his car was fast in a straight line, but I managed to finally get a good run on him and got by.’

Race one results:
– John Bryant-Meisner / SWE, Performance Racing Europe Dallara-Volkswagen   31:07.288
1 Will Buller / GBR, Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes    +16.533
2 Felipe Guimaraes / BRA, Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes   +25.163
3 Sean Gelael / IDN, Double R Dallara-Mercedes   +39.513
4 Tatiana Calderon / COL, Double R Dallara-Mercedes    +40.142
5 Antonio Giovinazzi / ITA Double R Dallara-Mercedes   +51.888*

National Class result:
1 Ed Jones / GBR, Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota   32:21.519
2 Sun Zheng / CHI, CF Racing Dallara-NBE   +5.734
3 Cameron Twynham / GBR, Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota   +7.358
*Five-second time penalty added to their race time.

Provisional championship standings
1 Buller 25 points; 2 Guimaraes 18 points; 3 Gelael 15 points; 4 Calderon 12 points; 5 Giovinazzi 10 points.

Formula 1

 Nico Rosberg Pole Monaco 2013

 Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton claimed the second consecutive front-row lockout for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team in today´s qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix. 

• Pole position is Nico´s third in a row and the fourth consecutive pole for the team in the 2013 season –

• Nico was fastest in every practice session of the weekend prior to qualifying on pole this afternoon –

• The 0.091s gap between the drivers is equivalent to less than a car length around the 3.340 km Monaco lap –

Nico Rosberg 
It´s a great feeling to be on pole in the city where I grew up and it means so much to me to drive through the streets here in a Silver Arrow. The conditions were really difficult out there today with the rain at the start but we handled it well. I have to say thank you to everybody at the team for all of their hard work in improving our car and our performance so much since last year. Having said that, we know that race pace has been our weakness. We´ve learnt a lot since the last race, and this track should suit us, but we´ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if this will be enough. 

Lewis Hamilton 
Congratulations to Nico and the team today, a great job all round. It´s a big improvement for me after struggling in the practice sessions here so I´m really happy to be on the front row of the grid. I didn´t have a great first sector on my lap today but after that it really came together. I´ve got some work to do as I haven´t felt completely comfortable in the car this weekend but I´m confident that we can have a good race tomorrow and we´ll be aiming to get the best possible result for the team. 

Ross Brawn 
That was a tricky session and the weather kept us on our toes for the whole hour. Nico, Lewis and the whole team did a great job throughout qualifying to put us in the perfect position at the front of the grid for tomorrow. We are well aware of our fate in the last few races and we have to make sure that we are in better shape for tomorrow. I believe we have moved in the right direction and we´ll see tomorrow if those improvements are enough and we can have a good race. 

Toto Wolff 
What a fantastic result and a brilliant performance from both drivers. There was a lot to lose at the beginning of the session in the wet conditions and it was important to judge the right changeover point from intermediate to dry tyres. The team did a perfect job of keeping both drivers in the chase and they then delivered the rest out on track. Of course we are very pleased this afternoon but, at the risk of sounding like I am repeating myself, we know it´s tomorrow that really counts.

Pos Driver                Team                  Time      Gap       
 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m13.876s
 2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1m13.967s + 0.091s
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m13.980s + 0.104s
 4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m14.181s + 0.305s
 5. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m14.822s + 0.946s
 6. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m14.824s + 0.948s
 7. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      1m15.138s + 1.262s
 8. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m15.383s + 1.507s
 9. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m15.647s + 1.771s
10. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m15.703s + 1.827s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m17.748s                               Gap ** 
11. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari        1m18.331s + 2.343s
12. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m18.344s + 2.356s
13. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m18.603s + 2.615s
14. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1m19.077s + 3.089s
15. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1m19.408s + 3.420s
16. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m21.688s + 5.700s
Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.095s                                Gap * 
17. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 	1m26.322s + 2.870s
18. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault      1m26.633s + 3.181s
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.917s + 3.465s
20. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth     1m27.303s + 3.851s
21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth
22. Felipe Massa          Ferrari

107% time: 1m29.293s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2

WSR 3.5

WSR 3.5 Monaco


Forty-eight hours after free practice, the Formula Renault 3.5 drivers were back on the streets of Monaco for qualifying. Nico Müller, who had a quiet practice session on Thursday, pulled off a surprise by claiming his first ever pole position in the category. The Swiss will share the front row of the grid with Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin).

As always at Monaco, the 26 drivers were split into two groups for qualifying. The fastest time overall would earn pole position, with the rest of drivers from the pole-sitter’s group lining up directly behind him on the starting grid. The drivers from the other group, meanwhile, would start the race on the other side of the grid.

Kevin Magnussen (DAMS), the overall championship leader coming into this round, led Group A on to the track for the first 25-minute qualifying session. The session started with threatening skies overhead, but the sun was able to pierce the clouds and gradually warm up the track.

Conditions, however, remained difficult, as Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing) proved by spinning at Rascasse. Jazeman Jaafar went quickest lap after lap, and set a benchmark time of 1:25.017 before returning to the pits for his second set of fresh tyres.

With only three minutes of the session remaining, Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen launched his bid for the fastest time, and was the first driver to lap in under 1:25. Magnussen then improved once more, before Jaafar went fastest again with a lap of 1:23.648. Carlos Sainz Jr. came close to finishing the session fastest, but missed out after bouncing his car over the kerbs at the Piscine chicane. Jaafar held on to top the timesheets, with Norman Nato (DAMS) and Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) second and third respectively.

Shortly after, the Group B drivers made their way on to the track. Zoel Amberg (Pons Racing) went straight on at Rascasse and a few drivers locked up at the exit of the tunnel section, but there were otherwise no major incidents. After 10 minutes, Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) lapped in 1:24.514, and the Belgian stayed top of the timesheets until the final ten minutes.

Marco Sorensen (Lotus) was first to beat Jaafar’s benchmark time, while Antonio Félix da Costa (Arden Caterham), another contender for pole, was thwarted on what should have been his fastest lap. At the chequered flag, Nico Müller (International Draco Racing) snatched pole position with a lap of 1:23.453. He finished ahead of Marco Sorensen, Stoffel Vandoorne – who will receive a five-place grid penalty – Antonio Félix da Costa and Mikhail Aleshin.

Nico Müller: “It’s an amazing feeling to have taken my first Formula Renault 3.5 pole at Monaco! I wasn’t very comfortable on Thursday, but we worked hard as a team to improve our performance. Here, you have to take all your risks on the final lap. It paid off for me and I’m very pleased. Part of the work is done, but the hardest part is still in front of us.”

Jazeman Jaafar: “This result builds on our performance in free practice, where we worked very well as a team. I’m a bit disappointed that I’m only second, but the second group was always going to be quicker. It’s my first drive at Monaco, but I love the circuit. I’m improving with every lap and it’s very exciting.”