Valtteri Bottas wins first GP3 race at Hungaroring from Michael Christensen
|By Glenn Freeman||Saturday, July 30th 2011, 16:17 GMT|
Valtteri Bottas sustained race-long pressure from Michael Christensen to take a lights-to-flag victory in the first GP3 race of the weekend at the Hungaroring.
Pole-sitter Bottas had eased away in the early laps, but he appeared to have no response as Christensen hunted him down by a couple of tenths of a second per lap later on.
But as soon as the RSC Mucke driver got the gap down to less than 1s, Bottas responded by becoming the fastest man on track to keep his lead at a safe margin and take his second successive victory for the ART Grand Prix team.
Christensen had jumped from fifth to second with a very bold move around the outside of James Calado (ART) and Mitch Evans (MW Arden) at Turn 1 after he had beaten Aaro Vainio (Tech 1) away from the line.
Calado then went too deep into Turn 2 as he tried to fight back, and as he went to re-take the racing line he collided with Evans, who had tried to sneak through in the gap left by the Briton.
Their clash led to Evans retiring, while Calado dropped way out of contention. It handed third place to Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, and the Manor driver would hold on to it until the finish.
Championship leader Alexander Sims came home fourth, the Status driver having made his way through the messy first couple of corners from 11th on the grid to hold onto his position at the top of the standings.
He came under pressure from Nico Muller in the middle of the race, but there was nothing the Jenzer driver could do to force a way through.
Vainio followed that scrap home to take sixth, just ahead of Lewis Williamson (MW Arden), who made his way into the points from 15th on the grid with an excellent first lap of his own.
The final point went to Addax driver Tom Dillmann, who had to fight very hard in the closing laps to prevent Nigel Melker (RSC Mucke) grabbing the place and pole position for race two.
Results - 16 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Valtteri Bottas ART 26m32.020s 2. Michael Christensen RSC Mucke + 0.986s 3. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor + 9.203s 4. Alexander Sims Status + 9.889s 5. Nico Muller Jenzer + 10.218s 6. Aaro Vainio Tech 1 + 11.243s 7. Lewis Williamson MW Arden + 11.522s 8. Tom Dillmann Addax + 15.454s 9. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke + 15.820s 10. Rio Haryanto Manor + 16.404s 11. Tamas Pal Kiss Tech 1 + 26.154s 12. Antonio Felix da Costa Status + 28.358s 13. Marlon Stockinger Atech CRS + 31.399s 14. Conor Daly Carlin + 34.130s 15. Mattias Laine Manor + 37.376s 16. Zoel Amberg Atech CRS + 40.368s 17. Simon Trummer MW Arden + 40.629s 18. Luciano Bacheta RSC Mucke + 41.510s 19. Pedro Nunes ART + 42.932s 20. Maxim Zimin Jenzer + 43.295s 21. Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin + 43.596s 22. Nick Yelloly Atech CRS + 44.355s 23. Vittorio Ghirelli Jenzer + 44.443s 24. Gabby Chaves Addax + 44.630s 25. Dean Smith Addax + 45.325s 26. James Calado ART + 45.831s 27. Callum Macleod Carlin + 46.747s 28. Thomas Hylkema Tech 1 + 47.330s 29. Ivan Lukashevich Status + 1 lap Retirements: Mitch Evans MW Arden 1 lap