A brilliant drive from Brazilian Felipe Nasr from eighth on the grid brought him his second victory of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season at Monza this afternoon.
Despite starting from eighth on the grid, and dropping back to 11th on the opening lap, Nasr kept his head and picked his way through the order. There followed a fierce tussle for the lead between Felipe and his countryman Lucas Foresti, but Nasr proved unstoppable. His third-round victory, second-round podium and first-round win add up to a healthy championship lead. For good measure Nasr was voted the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend.
Said Nasr: “This race was really exciting for me. I lost a lot of places on lap one so I had to try to stay out of trouble and take each car one by one. I was really quick so I saw the win was possible. I had a great battle with Lucas; he was the hardest one to pass. This has been a really great start to my season, I am very pleased.”
Jazeman Jaafar was the early leader, the Malaysian making a lightning getaway from fourth on the grid to overhaul pole man Will Buller into turn one. Buller then ran wide and through the gravel as he attempted to retake top spot, plunging back to 10th, just ahead of Nasr, who got boxed in at the start.
Jaafar held on in front until the 7th of the 21 laps, when Foresti jumped him into the first turn. His mirrors full of the pursuing Carlos Huertas and Kevin Magnussen, Jaafar had little time to think of mounting a challenge to retake the lead.
Nasr was meanwhile picking them off. By lap seven he was sixth, then the Brazilian passed Pietro Fantin, then Magnussen, whose car had suffered front wing damage, and then Felipe popped past both Jaafar and Huertas on the 11th lap to claim second spot.
The tussle between Nasr and Foresti for the lead was the highlight of a great race, Felipe trying everything he knew to get past and eventually managing it four laps from home through the second chicane. Fantin was delighted with his second place – his first British F3 podium. “Felipe was very tough to keep behind me and in the end he passed me, but this is a great result for me and for Fortec.”
Jaafar saw off strong assaults from both Huertas and the recovering Buller to hang on to third, with Buller leading home the Colombian to collect fourth. Second-round victor Rupert Svendsen-Cook was sixth, ahead of Pietro Fantin and Magnussen. Double R’s Pipo Derani collected his first points with ninth, as did Fortec man Fahmi Ilyas, who placed 10th. Dutch driver Bart Hylkema brought his T-Sport car home 19th to take the Rookie class honours.
British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 3, Monza ITA 17/4/2011
21 laps / 75.592 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 40m 37.942s / 111.60mph
2 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +2.114s
3 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +5.542s
4 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +6.125s
5 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +6.437s
6 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +7.879s
7 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +8.707s
8 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +9.473s
9 Pipo DERANI / BRA, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +13.602s
10 Fahmi ILYAS / MAS, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +14.152s etc
Provisional results Rookie class
1 Bart HYLKEMA / NED, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +41.861s
Fastest lap: Nasr 1m 46.298s / 121.91mph
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 51 points; 2 Jaafar 33; 3 Buller 30; 4 Huertas 25; 5 Svendsen-Cook 24;6 Foresti 17 etc
Rookie class: 1 Hylkema 33.