Hartley takes victory at Thruxton
Brendon Hartley took his second victory in British F3 today, in race one at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire. In a thrilling race which saw several exciting overtaking maneuvers, the Red Bull racer took the checkered flag ahead of team mate Oliver Turvey in third and Sam Abay in fourth. Pole sitter Jaime Alguersuari retired with a puncture. Andy Meyrick took an impressive victory in the National Class, while team mate Kristjan Einar came home in fourth place. After an impressive qualifying performance, it was Alguersuari on pole, ahead of Brendon Hartley and Oliver Turvey.
As the lights went out, all three drivers made a strong start, and it was three abreast into the first few corners. Turvey came out in front, with Alguersuari slotting into second. Hartley fell back to third, allowing John Martin to slip stream past him. Hartley wasn’t fourth for long though, passing Martin on lap two, and finding a way past team mate Alguersuari at the end of lap three. Sam Abay meanwhile had made a good start and was up to sixth by the end of lap two. By lap four, Hartley had Turvey in his sights, while behind them an apparently struggling Alguersuari was passed by Marcus Ericsson for third place.
In a closely fought battle, Hartley took the lead from Turvey on lap seven, which he would maintain to the checkered flag. By lap eight, Alguersuari was clearly suffering with a problem, as John Martin closed in on the F3 rookie. A close battle between the two resulted in Martin going off track on lap 10, elevating Carlin driver Abay to fifth place. The young Australian continued his charge up the field, passing Alguersuari for fourth a lap later to take his best finish of the season.
Team mate Alguersuari was unable to take the checkered flag however, pulling into the pits on lap 16 with a slow puncture which had hampered his progress for a number of laps. While Brendon Hartley was looking certain for an International Class win, the racing action continued in the National Class, with Carlin driver Andy Meyrick involved in a race long battle with Jay Bridger. As the cars came through the chicane for the final time, it was Meyrick in the lead, to take his seventh victory of the season. Team mate Kristjan Einar crossed the line fourth. Reflecting on his second win of the season, Hartley said, “I had a fairly good start and after the first corner Oliver, Jaime and I were running alongside each other. I couldn’t find a way past and dropped back into third, then [John] Martin got a slip stream past me and I was down to fourth. I knew I had good pace though, so I just started passing them one by one. Its good to be back on top again and I’m hoping to do the same from pole this afternoon.” Andy Meyrick said, “I made a bit of a mistake on the last lap which allowed Bridger to get really close going into the chicane for the last time, but I defended my position I managed to cross the line in front. After a difficult weekend at Snetterton, it’s good to be winning again. Its going to be difficult to do the same again from the back of the grid in race two, but I’ll be pushing hard to score some solid points.”
Carlin director Martin Stone added, “The team did a fantastic job this morning, as did all the drivers. I think we were able to demonstrate that we have good race pace as well as being quick in qualifying, although it was a great shame for Jaime that he wasn’t able to show his potential and make the most of his pole position. I think we’re looking good for more podiums this afternoon.”