Maldonado crushes competition in feature race
Pastor Maldonado made light work of collecting his third victory of the season in today’s feature race in Silverstone, storming off into the distance when the lights went out, and leaving Jules Bianchi and Dani Clos in his wake.
The Frenchman’s chance of victory was over at the start when a slow getaway handed Maldonado a lead which, pitstops notwithstanding, he never relinquished, with Clos slotting in behind the pair. Oliver Turvey pushed across to protect himself after a less than optimal start, but countryman Sam Bird was through and gone before he got there, with Giedo van der Garde also gaining from Charles Pic’s start-line woes.
Pic had more misfortune a lap later when a hard charging Sergio Perez just caught the rear of his car, tapping the Frenchman into a spin and down to 11th position, with series returnee Luca Filippi dropping to last place after a misjudgment from Michael Herck damaged the Italian’s tires and forced him into an early stop.
Christian Vietoris took advantage of his qualifying pace by also stopping early and putting together a string of quick laps in clear air before the rest of field came in, promoting the German to fifth place when the stops shook out.
But back at the front Maldonado was imperious, untouchable as he led the field home, ten seconds to the good over Bianchi, who had a similar margin over Clos as the checkered flag dropped: the Spaniard held on against strong pressure throughout the second half of the race from Bird to claim another podium finish.
Perez was rewarded for his boundless pressure after the stops to claim fifth place from Vietoris with 2 laps remaining, while Giedo van der Garde was possibly the unluckiest driver of the day, holding onto seventh place until a few corners from the end when he ran over some carbon and couldn’t turn in, waving iSport duo Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey through for the final points positions and the front row for tomorrow’s sprint race.
But with the crowd beneath the podium holding three fingers up to the podium it was clear that championship leader Maldonado was the apple of his team’s eye, stretching out his points lead even further as his rivals had no answer for the Venezuelan’s speed today.