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Nico Muller wins bizarre Silverstone GP3 race

Nico Muller on the Silverstone podiumSwitzerland's Nico Muller became the seventh winner in seven GP3 races at Silverstone on Saturday afternoon after a rain-affected race, which began in the strangest manner.

The start was bizarre, with the majority of the grid starting the warm-up lap on slicks but pitting for wets when it rained just before the grid formed. That left just 11 cars taking up their places on the startline, as the teams battled in a simultaneous pitstop race.

Jenzer driver Muller started from sixth on the grid, which was effectively now pole with the top five all in the pits, but made a poor getaway allowing Michael Christensen (who started 10th/second) to jump ahead of him. Muller quickly repassed, and Christensen was tagged into a spin at The Loop by his RSC Mucke team-mate, Nigel Melker.

With clear vision and no spray to deal with, Muller charged away at the head of the field, opening up a 8.7-second lead over his nearest pursuer Nick Yelloly. The chase of those who had pitted was led by 'poleman' Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who completed the opening lap in ninth. As the race progressed, the swifter pit-stoppers overhauled the slower cars who had effectively been granted a head-start.

The star of the show was Alexander Sims, who carved his way through from 12th on the opening lap to second, passing Yelloly with ease with a lap remaining. By this time, however, Muller was cruising and recorded a 2.8s win.

Yelloly held third, ahead of the next highest pitlane starter, Quaife-Hobbs, in fourth. Luciano Bacheta (who, like Muller and Yelloly, started from his proper grid spot) was fifth, followed by James Calado, who had given up his front-row starting slot to pit for wets.

Lewis Williamson and Dean Smith were next up, while championship leader Mitch Evans could only manage 10th.

Results - 14 laps:

Pos  Driver                  Team          Time/Gap
 1.  Nico Muller             Jenzer      30m40.239s
 2.  Alexander Sims          Status        + 2.814s
 3.  Nick Yelloly            Atech CRS     + 4.751s
 4.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs     Manor         + 7.400s
 5.  Luciano Bacheta         RSC Mucke    + 15.227s
 6.  James Calado            ART          + 18.644s
 7.  Lewis Williamson        MW Arden     + 19.315s
 8.  Dean Smith              Addax        + 24.705s
 9.  Marlon Stockinger       Atech CRS    + 27.352s
10.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden     + 27.838s
11.  Rio Haryanto            Manor        + 29.706s
12.  Aaro Vainio             Tech 1       + 30.351s
13.  Simon Trummer           MW Arden     + 31.185s
14.  Maxim Zimin             Jenzer       + 34.789s
15.  Conor Daly              Carlin       + 35.791s
16.  Vittorio Ghirelli       Jenzer       + 40.397s
17.  Valtteri Bottas         ART          + 54.998s
18.  Leonardo Cordeiro       Carlin     + 1m18.171s
19.  Ivan Lukashevich        Status     + 1m20.044s
20.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Status     + 1m43.499s
21.  Thomas Hylkema          Tech 1         + 1 lap


     Tom Dillmann            Addax          11 laps
     Gabby Chaves            Addax          11 laps
     Zoel Amberg             Atech CRS       8 laps
     Pedro Nunes             ART             3 laps
     Michael Christensen     RSC Mucke        1 lap
     Tamas Pal Kiss          Tech 1           1 lap
     Nigel Melker            RSC Mucke       0 laps
     Matias Laine            Manor           0 laps
     Daniel Morad            Carlin          0 laps
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