Graham On Top With Double Victory


Matthew Graham has seized the advantage in the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Winter Championship with a pair of victories on the opening day at Snetterton.

A front-runner throughout the 2013 season, Graham was the clear favourite for the Winter title heading into the series, and the Douglas Motorsport ace showed why as he topped qualifying, before taking both race wins in Norfolk.

The 17  year old didn’t have it all his own way in the opening race though, a slow start in the damp conditions dropping him to third behind fellow front-row starter Falco Wauer and F4 returnee Sennan Fielding.

As Wauer led the early stages, Graham fought back past Fielding at Palmer on the opening lap before focussing his attentions on the leader. By the middle of lap three he had closed a near two second gap, and got into the lead with a clean move into Riches at the start of lap four.

From there, Graham enjoyed a comfortable run to the race win, taking the flag three seconds clear of Wauer, who ran second for the remainder. Behind, HHC Motorsport duo Fielding and single-seater debutant Will Palmer battled for the final podium position, with Fielding holding off his fellow Ginetta Junior graduate to take third.

Jake Cook improved two places on his grid position to claim fifth in his first F4 encounter, the former Formula Renault racer benefitting from a mid-race collision between MGR team-mates Pietro Fittipaldi and Matteo Ferrer, who finished sixth and seventh respectively.

Fredrik Johansen was the final finisher in eighth, with Dimitris Papanastasiou forced into retirement after an off-track exclusion.

Another slow start for Graham saw him lose his advantage again at the start of race two, with treacherous conditions shuffling the pack over the course of the opening lap.

Wauer emerged 3.3 seconds clear of Fielding and Graham at the end of the lap, however an off on lap two at Montreal for the leader dropped him into the pack. Fielding went on to hold the lead until lap four, when a charging Graham found a way past.

Graham pulled away a considerable pace, mastering the conditions to eventually take the win by eleven seconds. Fielding was untroubled throughout the rest of the race to take second, while Fittipaldi successfully fended off an early challenge from Cook to take third.

Cook went off soon after and slipped back to a finish of sixth behind Palmer and Wauer, the Enigma driver having an erratic race, several off track excursions forcing him to settle for fifth. Papanastasiou took seventh ahead of fellow debutant Johansen, with Ferrer the only retiree after an opening lap problem.

Graham leads the Winter Championship by fifteen points from Fielding, with two more races tomorrow (10th November) ahead of the series finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks time.