Felipe Nasr took advantage of a disastrous start by pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen to take his 6th British Formula 3 win of 2011 at the Paul Ricard circuit. Magnussen bogged down heavily as the lights went out and dropped down to 7th place – the Carlin driver could only clamber back to 4th by the chequered flag. Magnussen’s misfortune also gave Antonio Felix Da Costa a very competitive run to 2nd place in only his 2nd British Formula 3 weekend. Carlos Huertas completed the podium with a solid performance.
While Nasr extended his lead in the championship with his lights-to-flag victory, Da Costa never let the championship leader relax over the 14 lap race, and occasionally looked to be the faster car early in the race. The HiTech runner finished only 1.2s behind the Brazilian as they crossed the line.
Nasr claims he was well aware of the threat from the Portuguese driver: “I saw that Kevin got a bad start,” said Nasr, “and I got a very good one; no-one was near me into the first corner. But I got a lot of pressure from Antonio. He tried once, in Turn 11, to put his nose in but I got away from that, and after that I was just trying to pull a gap. It was a hard win; he was in my mirrors the whole race.”
Despite his impressive performance, P2 didn’t seem quite enough for HiTech’s new signing: “I wanted to win that,” said da Costa, “but we were both very similar on pace. I should have done it in the first two or three laps. I had the chance, but it was very close. We were both a bit aggressive and he took the advantage.”
Magnussen’s start saw him swallowed on the long run to the first corner. Nevertheless, Magnussen showed his pace and by lap 3 was back up into 5th after passing team-mates Jack Harvey and Rupert Svendsen-Cook. His frustration seemed to peak as he struggled to pass Lucas Foresti for a number of laps, culminating in a brave lunge from Magnussen and contact. Foresti came off worst and tenaciously tried not the fall down the order, but slight bodywork damage saw the Brazilian slip down to 9th by the end. From there the Dane could climb no higher, and found himself merely 0.3s away from the final step on the podium as he harried Huertas to the flag.
Harvey came home in 5th ahead of Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Willam Buller respectively. Carlin’s Jazeman Jaafar battled hard against the wounded Foresti for 8th place, the pair swapping paint on a few occasions, whilst Harry Tincknell rounded out the top 10.
Newly graduated Bart Hylkema endured a tough International Class debut, retiring after only 3 laps with rear wing and presumably suspension damage. His former Rookie Class rival, Kotaro Sakurai finished the race to take the National Class win.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 16, Paul Ricard FRA 16/7/2011
14 laps / 50.82 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 28m 50.120s / 105.76mph
2 Antonio Felix da COSTA / POR, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +1.295s
3 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.602s
4 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.994s
5 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.811s
6 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +19.612s
7 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +20.232s
8 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +33.329s
9 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +35.888s
10 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +36.059s etc
1 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda 13 laps
Fastest lap Nasr 2m 02.857s / 106.38mph Est Rec
Full timesheets http://bit.ly/oJQaiF
Race 2 – Round 17 Begins Sunday 10am Local Time (BST +1)