Marco Wittmann won the 3rd and final race of the 2011 F3 Euroseries meeting at Silverstone on Sunday morning, as a constant drama behind the Signature driver unfolded throughout the whole field. Roberto Merhi fought hard to finish 2nd, with Carlos Munoz completing the podium.
As the lights went out, championship leader Merhi led the race from pole with team-mate Daniel Juncadella in tow, but the latter was soon collected from behind by Felix Rosenqvist going into turn 2. Wittmann inherited 2nd place as a result, and the news soon got better for the Signature driver as Merhi was found to have jumped the start, earning a drive-through penalty from the stewards.
The penalty allowed Wittmann into a lead he would never relinquish, whilst Merhi dropped down to 8th and began launching an incredible comeback drive through the field. Contact between Jimmy Eriksson and Gianmarco Raimondo going through the final turns saw the Raimondo out on the spot, whilst Merhi swept past both to claim 6th place. The squabbling Munoz, Daniel Abt and Laurens Vanthoor were up next, and Merhi took advantage of their scrap with a brilliant move around the outside into Becketts. Prema team-mate Carlos Munoz gratefully followed the Spaniard through into 5th place. Kimiya Sato and Round 20 winner Marco SÃ¸rensen also became short work for Merhi, before Sato wiped himself and SÃ¸rensen out of the race on lap 13 – Sato was quickly called into the stewards office.
Merhi was back into 2nd after only 6 laps, but could make no further roads into Wittmann’s lead, crossing the line 10 seconds down on the German with Munoz another 10 seconds behind after 19 laps.
“Having had many problems, particularly in qualifying, we have made the best out of this race.” Wittmann said afterwards. “Of course, I benefitted from Roberto’s drive through penalty. Initially, I was able to extend my lead to 18 seconds. Towards the end, I tried to save my tyres. I hadn’t expected this victory.”
Merhi added, “I am not quite sure whether my start was a jump start or not. I didn’t expect to drop back that far after my penalty. Later on, I didn’t have a chance against Marco anymore, he has done a good job. After the penalty, second place was the best I could do.”
Rounds 22-24 are scheduled to take place on 1-2 October at the Ricardo del Tormo Circuit in Valencia.