Nico Muller wins bizarre Silverstone GP3 race
|By Charles Bradley||Saturday, July 9th 2011, 16:37 GMT|
Switzerland'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 Retirements: 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