Jack Harvey took the honour of scoring the first home victory of the British Grand Prix weekend as he won the first race of the Formula BMW Europe support races.
Harvey had taken the lead from pole-sitter Carlos Sainz Jr. even before the field swung around Copse for the first time and the Fortec Motorsports driver had a one second lead by the end of the first lap after his title rival Robin Frijns and Facu Regalia had made their own way past Sainz who had fallen back despite pacing the qualifying session, taking pole by a quarter of a second.
“That was a great result,” beamed Harvey. “I had a pretty good start. I think Robin was right on my tail for the first three laps and then I managed to pull out a gap. I think he was getting closer at the end as he managed to reduce it, but I managed to pull out too big a gap in the middle of the race. This is my home Grand Prix so it is probably the most special win I have ever had.”
With a buffer already established after a single lap Harvey was able to cruise to his fifth victory of the season, extending his already comfortable championship lead over Frijns, the Dutchman collecting points for second place having pulled away from the battles that erupted behind him.
Through Harvey and Frijns had get away from Sainz the young Spaniard appeared determined to not let his pole-position to waste as he harried the rear of Regalia's Eifelland Racing entry, and in an aggressive move he was past the Argentine, Sainz finishing the race third. In the process Sainz returned to winning the rookie class, having lost out for the first time this season in the second race at Valencia a fortnight ago.
However, despite the return to form, and trip to the overall podium he remained unimpressed by his own showing; “Not at all what I wanted today. I had a really bad start with massive wheelspin, so I lost first and then I braked too early for turn 13 and two cars [Frijns and Regalia] passed me. I was not happy with the first lap, but then I managed to pass Facu later on,” he said.
“By the end of the race I had lost some grip in my rears and the car was starting to slide. I lost my pace and it was impossible to catch up to the cars in front. In one way I enjoyed the race and in another way I didn't. I enjoy racing but when you are not first after starting from pole you are not happy. Let's see tomorrow as I have a second opportunity to do well.”
The second of the Silverstone races sees Sainz on pole once more, though this time it will be Dutchman Frijns attempting to pass him from the other side of the front row, roles reversed with Harvey who will try to record another double win beginning from third on the grid.