Twenty-one year old Welshman, Matt Parry was in fine form at the home of British Motorsport with his Koiranen GP team, claiming third place in the GP3 Series feature race and fifth place in the sprint race.
The Koiranen team took victory at Silverstone twelve months ago with Parry’s current team-mate and GP3 veteran Jimmy Eriksson claiming the top step, so headed in to the weekend with high hopes.
Having set the fourth-fastest time in the practice session on Friday evening, Parry felt he was in a strong position for qualifying on Saturday morning; however, overnight rain and the with other classes also using the track (F1, GP2 and Porsche Supercup) the characteristics had changed completely changed by the time that GP3 drivers were back on track, despite this Parry was quickly back in the groove on a track he is very familiar with – having drove a McLaren F1 car there at the end of 2014. The speed that he managed to find was good enough for second place for a while, before having to ultimately having to settle for fourth on the grid.
“It was good to be fourth fastest in practice, but I was still nine-tenths off the best time,” Parry commented, “It’s so easy to lose tenths here and there around a long lap like Silverstone, so we went through the data to see where I was missing out and, after scrubbing in a set of tyres early in qualifying, I put in a series of laps good enough to keep myself in the top four, but with a much reduced two-tenths margin to the pole time.”
In previous rounds, making tyre rubber last had been a big problem but with Pirelli having provided its hardest tyre for the weekend this was not going to be an issue in the 40-minute Saturday race compared with what we have seen in Barcelona and Spielberg.
At lights out, Parry put himself straight into a position to contest for the podium by passing Alex Palou and quickly breaking away from the chasing pack with race leader Marvin Kirchhofer and second placed Emil Bernstorff – the latter of whom Parry began to put pressure on and push for a pass but was denied to chance, so opted to concentrate on preserve his tyres. Despite the two lead cars nearly coming to blows and almost gifting the win to Parry he was happy with third place: “…I was delighted with third place, especially after a tough couple of rounds in Spain and Austria.”
This third place result meant that the Brit started the race Sunday morning from sixth place, and was able to make up places early on: passing race one winner Kirchhofer, championship leader Luca Ghiotto and Bernstorff in the space of a couple of laps promoted the Welshman to fifth place, where he found himself behind team-mate Eriksson until the end of the race.
Despite not being able to pass Eriksson in the closing stages Parry remained upbeat: “…I said after Austria that I just needed a clean weekend to show what I could do, so it has been very positive – and very satisfying.”