Bortolotti wins Silverstone season opener
Italy's Mirko Bortolotti converted his maiden pole position to a commanding victory in the opening round of the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship at Silverstone today (Saturday).
Bortolotti made a perfect start, as fellow front row qualifier Spain's Miki Monras lost a position to Briton Will Bratt after getting bogged down off the line. By the end of the opening lap, Mirko had created a commanding lead of more than a second of the pair, who tussled for position in the early stages of the race.
As Bortolotti put in a series of consistent laps, a locked wheel from Monras allowed Bratt to build a small breathing space in his bid to maintain second position. The British driver - who lives just a stone's throw from the circuit in Banbury - cemented his podium place by posting a flying lap in the closing stages of the race, but not before Bortolotti demonstrated his supreme pace by setting the fastest lap of the race on his penultimate encounter of the Silverstone Arena circuit.
Monras steered his Williams JPH1B Formula Two car to an impressive third position on his championship debut, whilst Romania's Mihai Marinescu equaled his best ever F2 result in fourth place.
Spain's Ramon Pineiro fought his way to fifth position, ahead of Germany's Tobias Hegewald, who returns to F2 in 2010 following a season in GP3.
F2 rookie Christopher Zanella impressed on his first Formula Two race outing to secure seventh overall, whilst Jack Clarke finished eighth after struggling with pace in the latter stages of the race.
Russia's Max Snegirev took advantage of a wheel-to-wheel battle between Johannes Theobald and Tom Gladdis to carve his way through from 13 in qualifying to ninth at the finish. Snegirev dived down the inside of the dueling pair, who went side by side on several occasions until Gladdis finally shook off his German rival. Theobald then went on to battle with Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks until contact between the pair caused his retirement.
Alex Brundle suffered a puncture in the closing stages of the race whilst running in the top ten, whilst on the same lap there was contact between Korean F2 debutant Sun-Hak Mun and Bulgaria's Plamen Kralev on lap - causing the latter to retire.
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 21 laps
2. Will Bratt, +5.337s
3. Miki Monras, +6.929s
4. Mihai Marinescu, +19.381s
5. Ramon Pineiro, +26.243s
6. Tobias Hegewald, +27.072s
7. Christopher Zanella, +28.901s
8. Jack Clarke, +40.496s
9. Maxim Snegirev, +45.852s
10. Tom Gladdis, +53.612s