Marco Wittmann eases to victory in dramatic F3 Silverstone finale
|By Sam Tremayne
||Sunday, September 11th 2011, 09:36 GMT
Marco Wittmann scored his fourth F3 Euro Series win of the season in a dramatic final race at Silverstone.
The German's relatively easy passage at the front of the field was in stark contrast to the action behind, as battles - and collisions - raged throughout.
A frantic opening saw championship leader Roberto Merhi (Prema) lead away from the line, while his team-mate Daniel Juncadella was taken out from second as Mucke Motorsport's Felix Rosenqvist went too deep into The Loop.
Merhi was then found to have jumped the start and was handed a drive-through which dropped him to eighth, and allowed Wittmann (Signature) to move into a lead he steadily built until the flag.
Merhi meanwhile began a remarkable comeback through the field, as second through to eighth were all covered by less four seconds.
His first victim was Jimmy Eriksson (Motopark), who had dropped to seventh after clashing with Gianmarco Raimondo (Prema) through Vale and Club - the latter retiring on the main straight as a result.
Signature duo Laurens Vanthoor and Daniel Abt were next up, and as the pair fought heading into Becketts Merhi passed both round the outside. Their team-mate Carlos Munoz followed, with Merhi also claiming the scalps of Motopark's Kimiya Sato and Mucke's Marco Sorensen as he rose from eighth to second in just six laps.
After Merhi had scythed through, Sorensen was left to fend off Sato, Munoz and Vanthoor - the latter pair locked in battle for almost the entire race, with Munoz eventually getting ahead after going side-by-side through Copse.
That move ultimately earned him a final podium spot, as Sato cleaned himself and Sorensen out six laps from the end, spearing into the back of the guest driver into Brooklands. Sato had earlier been given a warning for weaving under braking, and was called to the stewards immediately after the clash.
Vanthoor finished a close fourth ahead of Abt and Eriksson. Alon Day took seventh, ahead of Juncadella - who finished on the lead lap but well down following his opening lap clash with Rosenqvist.
Results - 19 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 37m01.762s
2. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc + 10.231s
3. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW + 21.869s
4. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW + 22.434s
5. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 25.526s
6. Jimmy Eriksson Motopark Dallara-VW + 31.545s
7. Alon Day HS Dallara-VW + 38.562s
8. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 1m20.541s
Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW 15 laps
Marco Sorensen Mucke Dallara-Merc 13 laps
Gianmarco Raimondo Prema Dallara-Merc 5 laps
Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1 lap