Calado masters slippery Silverstone

James Calado overcame championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne and some very tricky conditions to win the opening British Formula 3 race at Silverstone this afternoon

Calado masters slippery Silverstone

The field began the race on slicks in dry conditions, but a series of downpours once the race got underway made the going extremely challenging for the drivers.

Both Calado and Vergne made poor getaways and Carlin team-mate Lucas Foresti led the field around the first lap until Vergne lunged past at Abbey to re-take the lead. The French Red Bull junior looked rapid in the dry, but less sure-footed as the rain came and intensified.

Calado came on strong as the conditions got worse and, having worked his way past team-mates Adriano Buzaid, Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Foresti after his poor start, managed to catch the championship leader.

The pair raced side-by-side for several laps before Vergne slid off onto the grass at the complex and fell to second.

Once ahead, Calado continued to pull away and claimed his fourth victory of the season to move into second place in the points.

Vergne took a distant second, well clear of battling Brazilian trio Foresti, Buzaid, and Felipe Nasr (Double R).

Svendsen-Cook rounded out the top six, ahead of Raikkonen Robertson's Carlos Huertas and Fortec pairing Daniel McKenzie and Oli Webb. Hitech's Will Buller revelled in the difficult conditions and made it into the top seven, but fell back through the top 10 in the latter stages and eventually retired his sick-sounding Dallara-Volkswagen on the penultimate lap.

Double R's Daisuke Nakajima thus took the final point for 10th place. The Japanese driver was the highest placed of a glut of drivers that switched to wets after the early downpour. The gamble didn't work for these drivers and they finished well adrift, but Nakajima was at least able to catch and pass Hitech's Gabriel Dias, who led the 'wet class' for much of the race.

Both of T-Sport's National Class runners switched to wets and Menasheh Idafar led the class in the late stages, but a misjudged pass on Mucke's Carlos Munoz at Abbey caused him to spin and stall, so Juan Carlos Sistos (West-Tec) claimed class victory on his series debut by staying out and pounding round for the entire race on slick tyres.

 Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap 1. James Calado Carlin D/V 30m48.609s 2. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin D/V + 7.193s 3. Lucas Foresti Carlin D/V + 21.568s 4. Adriano Buzaid Carlin D/V + 22.750s 5. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 23.525s 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin D/V + 32.643s 7. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 33.675s 8. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/M + 34.528s 9. Oli Webb Fortec D/M + 41.877s 10. Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 1m11.873s 11. Gabriel Dias Hitech D/V + 1m19.135s 12. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin D/V + 1m46.133s 13. Maxim Snegirev Fortec D/M + 1m48.823s 14. Hywel Lloyd CF/Manor D/M + 1m52.678s 15. Carlos Munoz Mucke D/M + 1m54.233s 16. Alex Brundle T-Sport D/V + 1m55.120s 17. Juan Carlos Sistos West-Tec D/H + 1 lap 18. Jay Bridger Litespeed D/M + 1 lap 19. James Cole T-Sport D/H + 1 lap 20. Yann Cunha Manor D/M + 1 lap 21. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport D/H + 1 lap Retirements: William Buller Hitech D/V 15 laps Adderly Fong Sino Vision D/M 3 laps Pietro Fantin Hitech D/V 3 laps 
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