Bottas & Magnussen the Donington Sunday winners
The battle for second place in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will go down to the final rounds of the championship at Silverstone in a fortnight’s time after a pair of dramatic damp Donington Park races today.
|Valtteri Bottas salutes his Donington win today, flanked by Will Buller (left) and Menasheh Idafar|
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas won the sprint race for Double R and Mercedes, and Danish driver Kevin Magnussen took the win in the streaming wet 40-minute feature race for Carlin and Volkswagen, setting the scene for a dramatic finale as five drivers bid to end the season as runner-up to new champion Felipe Nasr. The championship second and third-place drivers will join Nasr at a free half-day test in a World Series by Renault car at the Spanish MotorLand Aragon circuit on 28 November.
Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas became the 10th different winner of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season at Donington Park this morning, the Double R driver making the best of the damp conditions to secure victory in round 26.
Bottas, in only his second race in one of Double R’s Mercedes-powered Dallaras, snatched the advantage at the outset, blasting away from third on the grid to overhaul front-row men Will Buller and Harry Tincknell in their Fortec Motorsport cars on the run down to Redgate corner. From then on, all the Finn’s rivals saw was his spray.
Bottas was 14s clear the checkered flag. “I had a really good start,” said Bottas. “The guys in front spun their wheels a bit. In conditions like this it’s good to be in front and just be able to focus on driving and finding the dry lines. I pushed at first to make a gap and then after that I did not take any big risks.”
Although there was never much doubt who would win the 20-minute sprint race, the battle for second raged throughout. Buller led Double R’s Scott Pye to the eighth lap, when the Australian lunged for a gap at the Melbourne hairpin but succeeded only in delaying the pair of them, which gave Tincknell the opportunity to nip past both into Goddards.
Buller reasserted himself on the following lap, and the outcome of the fight for second was settled on lap 10 when Pye and Tincknell tangled at McLeans. Tincknell was able to get going again but Pye had to limp to the pits and retirement.
This promoted the mercurial Menasheh Idafar to third; the Anglo-Bahraini had started 11th for T-Sport and was reveling in the conditions. Sixth by the end of the first lap, he then picked off Jazeman Jaafar before gaining two spots thanks to the Pye/Tincknell clash. Though he harried Buller in the closing laps, there was no way through.
Jaafar placed fourth ahead of the recovered Tincknell, Carlos Huertas and Lucas Foresti. Saturday victor Rupert Svendsen-Cook recovered from a disastrous opening lap to battle back to eighth, demoting his team-mate Jack Harvey on the final lap. New champion Felipe Nasr started from the back after his first-race retirement and opted for slick tires, which did not come good until the closing stages; the Brazilian made it to 10th at the line and secured fastest lap.
New Rookie champ Kotaro Sakurai retired with suspension damage, joining Pye, Pipo Derani and Bart Hylkema on the sidelines.
Kevin Magnussen claimed his sixth Cooper Tires British Formula 3 win of the season this afternoon at Donington Park, triumphing in a rain-hit race to close to within a point of the championship runner-up position with just three races remaining.
Magnussen survived a controversial collision with new champion and team-mate Felipe Nasr on the opening lap to fight back from third and lift the lead from another Carlin driver, Jack Harvey, on the ninth of the 24 laps.
The weather dealt half the grid a crushing blow when the heavens opened on the warming-up lap; those on wet-weather Cooper tires were sitting pretty - the top six on the grid, headed by Nasr, in particular - while those behind were forced to start from the pits after hurried tire swaps.
Magnussen got a great start from fifth on the grid to slot into second behind Nasr, but a challenge on the champion into the Esses at the end of the lap resulted in contact and delay for both. Magnussen slipped to third, behind Harvey and Saturday winner Rupert Svendsen-Cook, and Nasr dropped to 10th.
When Svendsen-Cook slithered back to fourth on lap four, Magnussen was promoted to second and took Double R’s Pipo Derani with him. The Dane then proceeded to harry Harvey until the Lincolnshire driver erred at the Esses on lap nine and Magnussen assumed the lead. Alas Jack’s strong showing was to last only a further 11 laps, when a sudden loss of power sidelined him.
“It was very tricky and took a lot of concentration,” said Magnussen, who would not be drawn on his incident with Nasr. “It was all about not making any mistakes and I am very pleased to have brought the car home. Obviously I need to get the best out of the rest of the season to try to get second in the championship.”
Magnussen crossed the line 4.8s ahead of Derani, the Brazilian claiming his maiden podium finish in British F3 in some style. Svendsen-Cook was third and, as top Brit, collected the prestigious Raymond Mays Challenge Trophy, awarded by the Donington Park Racing Association. For his efforts, Derani was gifted the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award.
“I am really happy,” said Derani. “I can’t explain this feeling. We have been working hard towards this result all year, and now it is here. Now I will keep working; there are three more races at Silverstone and I want to be on top.”
Carlos Huertas collected fourth with Sino Vision Racing’s Adderly Fong finishing a fine fifth on the road. Adderly was, however, docked 10 seconds - along with Harry Tincknell - because of a tardy wheel change on the grid. That dropped him to seventh, still his best result, behind Scott Pye (Double R) and Pietro Fantin (Hitech). Lucas Foresti was eighth for Fortec, ahead of Nasr and Carlin’s Jazeman Jaafar.
British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Provisional results Championship class
1 Valtteri BOTTAS / FIN, Double R Dallara-Mercedes 20m 39.657s / 93.90mph
2 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +14.247s
3 Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen +14.429s
4 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +24.456s
5 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +24.712s
6 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +27.200s
7 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +27.347s
8 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +27.813s
9 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +28.596s
10 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +31.965s etc
Fastest lap Nasr 1m 30.482s / 98.96mph
Round 27, Donington Park GP 25/9/2011
24 laps / 59.69 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 40m 30.222s / 88.43mph
2 Pipo DERANI / BRA, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +4.806s
3 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +7.477s
4 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +19.373s
5 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +26.252s
6 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +26.588s
7 Adderly FONG / CHN, Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes +35.271s
8 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +37.897s
9 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +39.009s
10 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +39.587s etc
Fastest lap Bottas 1m 37.809s / 91.55mph