Dean Smith scored his second podium finish of the GP3 Series season with a fine second place in Round 8 of the season at Silverstone, giving Dean a brilliant result at his home track on the morning of the British Grand Prix.
Budget restrictions mean that Dean is racing on a round-by-round basis in 2011 for the Addax Team, but his performance at Silverstone moved him to within 11 points of the championship lead at the halfway stage of the season.
“I'm really pleased to be back on the podium, especially at Silverstone in front of the British Grand Prix crowd,” he said. “We've taken two points finishes this weekend and we're not far behind at all in the championship which is great for me and everyone at Addax. Whether we'll be back out for the next rounds at the Nurburgring, as ever we've just got to wait and see.”
Problems with the rear of the car led to a disappointing 25th place in qualifying on Saturday morning. This appeared to leave Dean with a lot of work to do to make it into the points paying positions in Race 1.
However, a downpour during the warmup lap for the race shook everything up. A few had gambled and fitted wet tyres on the grid, while two-thirds opted to return to the pits at the end of the warmup lap to change their tyres.
With his car set-up for wet conditions Dean opted to continue round to the grid. He struggled in the opening stages of the race in the greasy conditions, but held a place just inside the top ten nonetheless.
In the latter stages he was able to attack more, with a move up the inside at Copse corner giving him eighth place and pole position for the reverse grid Race 2.
Dean wasn't overly happy with the feel of his car, and believed that something was wrong with the back of the car. This was confirmed post-race when his mechanics discovered a suspension breakage.
Dean got away well from pole position in Race 2, but as he was defending his line from James Calado into Brooklands, Lewis Williamsontook the opportunity to pass Dean for the lead around the outside.
Though he was unable to get the lead back he pulled clear of the battle for third.
“I'm pleased with second place but we did go the wrong way with set-up,” he said after Race 2. “We took a chance but the car was too stiff and the tyres only lasted a few laps – the rears had gone within three laps and then the fronts went so I didn't have much grip, we had really bad graining. The mechanical issue messed us up really, we were chasing it nearly all weekend.
“I knew after the first race there was something broken on the rear, without that we would have been in the top six in qualifying for sure and probably on the podium in Race 1 as well. When you look at the problems we've had this year with lost points through mechanical issues though, to be within 11 points of the championship lead isn't bad at all at the halfway stage of the season.”