Stoneman dominates Brands opener

Dean Stoneman cruised to victory in the opening Formula 2 race of the weekend at Brands Hatch

Stoneman dominates Brands opener

He led away from pole and quickly established a buffer between himself and second-placed Jack Clarke that would never be breached.

Stoneman was three seconds clear by the end of the third lap and his lead extended to more than 13s before he backed off for the last two circuits.

Clarke had taken second from Sergei Afanasiev around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend on the first lap, and was gifted some breathing space when Will Bratt's attempted pass on Afanasiev at Druids was unsuccessful.

Bratt pushed the Russian's car wide, allowing Ivan Samarin and Tom Gladdis to pass both on the inside. Jolyon Palmer was also delayed as Bratt and Afanasiev filed back in, allowing Nicola de Marco to nick seventh.

Clarke then pulled a couple of seconds clear of Samarin, who resiliently soaked up pressure from Bratt to secure his maiden podium. Bratt had re-taken his fourth place from Gladdis at Surtees at half distance.

With four Britons in the top five on home soil, Afanasiev, de Marco, Palmer, Armaan Ebrahim and Philipp Eng completed the top 10 ahead of Kazim Vasiliauskas.

The only retirement of the race was Plamen Kralev, the Bulgarian spinning out on the second lap.

In Kralev's absence, F2 debutant Julian Theobald avoided bringing up the rear by passing Parthiva Sureshwaren around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend.

Pos Driver Time/Gap 1. Dean Stoneman 36m38.208s 2. Jack Clarke +8.181 3. Ivan Samarin +11.136 4. Will Bratt +11.307 5. Tom Gladdis +11.887 6. Sergei Afanasiev +13.407 7. Nicola de Marco +14.888 8. Jolyon Palmer +15.810 9. Armaan Ebrahim +16.199 10. Philipp Eng +17.652 11. Kazim Vasiliauskas +18.623 12. Mihai Marinescu +19.226 13. Benjamin Bailly +20.192 14. Benjamin Lariche +20.490 15. Natalia Kowalska +32.106 16. Ricardo Teixeira +36.663 17. Julian Theobald +50.475 18. Parthiva Sureshwaren +54.558 Retirements Plamen Kralev +1:34.037 Fastest lap, Stoneman 1m17.582s 
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