Maldonado wins wet Silverstone encounter as Novalak reinstates comfortable points lead

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Manuel Maldonado wins race two at Silverstone
Credit: BRDC British F3

Fortec Motorsports driver Manuel Maldonado became the thirteenth different winner of the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship after securing victory in a wet reverse-grid race around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

The Venezuelan racer won from pole position in tricky conditions and beat Hillspeed’s Nicolas Varrone by just over four seconds over the duration of the twenty minute race. Meanwhile, Clement Novalak’s storming drive from ninth on the grid to finish third has seen him establish a 51 points advantage over Johnathan Hoggard who endured his worst race since Spa Francorchamps to finish a lowly fourteenth in tricky conditions.

The race began with two formation laps instead of the usual one for the drivers to get acclimatized to the wet track conditions. Then as the drivers took their places on the starting grid, Maldonado made a great start from pole position and led into Corpse corner for the first time while Nazim Azman got a ton of wheelspin and slotted into sixth place by the time the chasing pack had negotiated the first turn.

Maldonado was already building himself a comfortable lead out front while the drivers behind continued to jockey for position throughout the opening lap. So at the end of the opening encounter, Maldonado held a 1.8 s lead over Kris Wright with Varrone up to third position after a nifty start from the Argentine.

As for the championship contenders, a strong first lap from Novalak saw him move up to fifth while Hoggard failed to make any progress down at the rear of the pack and remained fourteenth. Novalak then made another place on Ulysse De Pauw for fourth, while on the following lap, Hoggard joined Neil Verhagen in making an unforgivable error at Club corner which demoted him down to sixteenth position.

But dramas for both Hampus Ericsson and Josh Mason in the next two laps aided the Fortec Motorsports driver to reclaim his starting position of fourteenth.

Further up the road, the third championship challenger, Ayrton Simmons began his mammoth charge up the order and picked up seventh position after passing Kaylen Frederick. Although knowing that he had a 10 second time penalty for starting out of position at the race start, maybe the American didn’t put up much of a fight.

But that was just the start of the Chris Dittmann Racing driver’s charge, and he began overtaking a car on each lap: passing Pavan Ravishankar on lap six, followed by De Pauw and Wright until he had to bridge a four second gap to Novalak in the final three laps of the race..

The battle of the Scandanivans was reinvigorated once more as Benjamin Pedersen found a way past Lucas Petersson as the American-Danish racer and the Swedish star always seem to lock horns, and today was no different.

As the race neared its creshendo, all eyes were on whether Simmons could catch and pass Novalak for third, and despite clearly being the faster driver in these conditions, the Chris Dittmann Racing driver just missed out, finishing 0.352 s behind the Carlin racer.

But there was no doubt over who the winner was as Maldonado controlled the race from start to finish and beat his fellow South American, Nicolas Varrone by just over four seconds.

So with points leader Novalak bagging a fabulous result in the wet at Silverstone, it now means his championship lead is back up to 51 points ahead of the final race of the weekend at 14.35 this afternoon.

The race results for round twenty of the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit are as follows:

POSDriver nameNATRace Time
1Manuel MaldonadoVEN21.14.686
2Nicolas VarroneARG+ 4.001
3Clement NovalakGBR+ 6.451
4Ayrton SimmonsGBR+ 6.803
5Kris WrightUSA+ 17.897
6Ulysse De PauwBEL+ 19.014
7Pavan RavishankarSIN+ 19.188
8Kiern JewissGBR+ 20.851
9Sasakorn ChaimongkolTHA+ 21.493
10Benjamin PedersenUSA/DEN+ 22.385
11Lucas PeterssonSWE+ 22.768
12Nazim AzmanMAS+ 24.565
13Kaylen FrederickUSA+ 29.945
14Johnathan HoggardGBR+ 39.112
15Neil VerhagenUSA+ 56.039
DNFJosh MasonGBR5 Laps
DNFHampus EricssonSWE8 Laps
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NCTJ Graduate and nominated finalist for Sir William Lyons Award in November 2018. Formula E and Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy TCF correspondent.
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