ANALYSIS: 2019 BRDC British F3 Round Seven Silverstone GP circuit – Novalak overcomes qualifying calamity to turn points loss into points gain

by Nathan Hine
Clement Novalak finishes third in reverse-grid race at Silverstone

Round seven of the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship brought the single-seater racing series to the home of British motorsport at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Heading to the venue, Carlin’s Clement Novalak held a 40 point lead over Fortec Motorsports driver Johnathan Hoggard. But given the Spalding racer’s recent momentum following his upturn in performance at Brands Hatch, things were finely poised prior to the penultimate round of the season.

But despite Novalak’s disastrous qualifying performance, the British-Swiss racer defied the odds and will head to the Donington Park decider in four weeks time with an increased 53 point margin over his closest rival Hoggard. Also, the series has two more race winners this season in the shape of Sasakorn Chaimongkol and Manuel Maldonado after their fabulous performances in races one and two respectively, taking the total for the year up to thirteen with one round to go.

Novalak and Carlin enjoyed a mixed weekend as the British-Swiss racer qualified ninth for race one and seventh for race three on Saturday morning. Then after finishing only seventh in race one, his championship lead was down to its lowest point since Snetterton at just 31 points heading to Sunday’s races. In the reverse-grid race though, Novalak proved his worth; gaining six positions from ninth on the grid to finish third in mixed conditions. And if that wasn’t enough, he had a mega start and first lap to race three and managed to leapfrog his main title Hoggard and remained there for the duration to hold a 53 point championship margin heading to Donington Park in four weeks time.

Hoggard by contrast had a weekend of what could have been. After a podium in race one, he endured a dreadful race two after tangling with Neil Verhagen at the end of lap two at the Club chicane and a poor start in race three which meant that he sacrificed yet more points to Novalak. He will head to his favourite track at Donington Park with nothing to lose, but knowing that things could be very different.

Kiern Jewiss and Johnathan Hoggard battling at Silverstone
Credit: BRDC British F3

Ayrton Simmons strung together a strong weekend as the Chris Dittmann Racing driver fought hard around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. He was able to recover from a bad start in race one to finish fourth and then gained eight places in wet conditions to claim yet another fourth-place finish before taking his first win of the season since race three at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps to secure his third victory of 2019.

Kiern Jewiss continued his strong showing with two podium finishes after two pole positions, combined with a strong reverse-grid race to be 59 points clear of fifth-placed Ulysse De Pauw and just 42 points behind the top three in the points standings.

But following a consistent weekend in Northamptonshire, it is the Belgian who leads Double R Racing’s Neil Verhagen and Fortec Motorsport driver Manuel Maldonado ahead of the final round of the season. The trio has been close on points all season long and will have their eyes firmly fixed on beating the other two at the Donington decider.

Kaylen Frederick had his most consistent weekend in ages, picking up two top-ten finishes to solidify eighth place in the points classification. But after Chaimongkol secured his first race win of the season, the American will need to be on his A-game to beat the Thai racer after the final round of the year.

After recent success, poor performances from both Hampus Ericsson and Josh Mason have seen them fall down the championship classification after they both retired in the crucial rain-affected reverse-grid race. But Brit Mason still sits eleventh in the championship, ahead of Benjamin Pedersen, Nazim Azman, Lucas Petersson and Pavan Ravishankar.

Part-time BRDC British F3 driver for Hillspeed, Nicolas Varrone scored his second podium of the year after a well-accomplished second-place finish in a rain-affected race around the Silverstone GP circuit. Kris Wright brings up the rear despite finishing the reverse-grid race a season’s best of fifth for Fortec Motorsports.

Nicolas Varrone during race two at Silverstone GP circuit
Credit: BRDC British F3

The 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship will now head to Donington Park on 14-15 September to decide whether Clement Novalak, Johnathan Hoggard or Ayrton Simmons will be the series champion this season. Carlin racer Novalak has led the championship since race one at Oulton Park, and after another assured and consistent performance from him here at Silverstone, he has to survive just one more weekend to secure the title he so desperately wants. So the only question now is will he do it..?

2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship Standings after Round Seven at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit:

POSDriver NameNATTeam RepresentingPoints
1Clement NovalakGBRCarlin463
2Johnathan HoggardGBRFortec Motorsports411
3Ayrton SimmonsGBRChris Dittmann Racing402
4Kiern JewissGBRDouglas Motorsport360
5Ulysse De PauwBELDouglas Motorsport301
6Neil VerhagenUSADouble R Racing295
7Manuel MaldonadoVENFortec Motorsports288
8Kaylen FrederickUSACarlin267
9Sasakorn ChaimongkolTHAHillspeed257
10Hampus EricssonSWEDouble R Racing254
11Josh MasonGBRLanan Racing209
12Benjamin PedersenUSA/DENDouglas Motorsport200
13Nazim AzmanMASChris Dittmann Racing198
14Lucas PeterssonSWECarlin174
15Pavan RavishankarSINDouble R Racing163
16Nicolas VarroneARGHillspeed109
17Kris WrightUSAFortec Motorsports108
1841

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