Valtteri Bottas increases GP3 points lead with Spa victory
|By Glenn Freeman
||Saturday, August 27th 2011, 16:51 GMT
Valtteri Bottas extended his GP3 championship lead with a dominant victory in wet conditions at Spa.
The ART driver grabbed the lead from his team-mate James Calado by out-dragging him away from the start. Calado then had a look to the inside, but Bottas left just enough room to avoid contact and hold the advantage.
From there, he pulled away at an incredible rate. His lead was four seconds after two laps, 6.5s after five and up to 9.5s by lap eight. From there, he backed off and cruised to victory.
Calado had a lonely race to second, while the battle for third provided plenty of action in the early laps. RSC Mucke driver Nigel Melker had to pass Manor's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs three times for the position, and on the first two times he made his move around the outside at the fearsome Blanchimont corner.
Quaife-Hobbs was faster on the run out of Eau Rouge though, and he twice took the place back on the long back straight. Melker then caught him by surprise with a lunge into Stavelot that proved to be the deciding moment in their scrap.
Behind them, Conor Daly resisted several laps of pressure from a charging Alexander Sims. The Status driver had climbed from 17th to seventh on the opening lap, and then picked off Tom Dillmann (Addax) in the early stages.
Daly kept him at bay for four laps, before the Status Grand Prix driver suffered a high-speed 360-degree spin as he looked to the inside at Blanchimont. Sims held his place initially, but he soon fell down the order before retiring on the penultimate lap.
The main beneficiary of his misfortune was series debutant Richie Stanaway, who took the final point - and therefore pole position for race two - in the third ART entry.
Results - 12 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Valtteri Bottas ART 31m02.902s
2. James Calado ART + 6.495s
3. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke + 13.979s
4. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor + 21.117s
5. Conor Daly Carlin + 24.915s
6. Tom Dillmann Addax + 34.338s
7. Nico Muller Jenzer + 40.898s
8. Richie Stanaway ART + 43.583s
9. Lewis Williamson MW Arden + 45.330s
10. Ivan Lukashevich Status + 50.869s
11. Mitch Evans MW Arden + 51.538s
12. Rio Haryanto Manor + 53.789s
13. Aaro Vainio Tech 1 + 1m01.520s
14. Alex Fontana Jenzer + 1m05.130s
15. Michael Christensen RSC Mucke + 1m06.596s
16. Gabby Chaves Addax + 1m09.195s
17. Tamas Pal Kiss Tech 1 + 1m13.548s
18. Matias Laine Manor + 1m14.024s
19. Simon Trummer MW Arden + 1m14.988s
20. Dean Smith Addax + 1m20.817s
21. Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin + 1m27.518s
22. Thomas Hylkema Tech 1 + 1m49.087s
Alexander Sims Status 9 laps
Maxim Zimin Jenzer 9 laps
Marlon Stockinger Atech CRS 6 laps
Daniel Mancinelli RSC Mucke 3 laps
Antonio Felix da Costa Status 1 laps
Callum MacLeod Carlin 1 laps
Nick Yelloly Atech CRS 0 laps
Zoel Amberg Atech CRS 0 laps