F3 Euro Series: Double win for Bianchi as Bird grabs podium
By Andy Darley
Sunday, July 19th, 2009
Championship leader Jules Bianchi won both F3 Euro Series races in Zandvoort, while Britain’s Sam Bird shrugged off qualifying 15th to score a point in the first race and take second place in the next.
Bird gained five places at the race one start, then picked up a couple more when two drivers ahead were penalised for jump starts. His eighth-place finish earned him the last of the points and, more importantly, put him on pole for race two.
Bianchi built what looked like a winning lead, but had to survive a late restart to secure his victory. Bird’s Mucke team-mate Alexander Sims took 13th but Nick Tandy, who recently moved across to join Kolles in the Euro Series from British F3, was one of four drivers who failed to complete even the first lap.
Both had better luck in the second race, with Sims finishing 9th and Tandy 15th.
F3 Euro Series reverses the top eight finishers of the first race to form the front of the grid for the second, and Bianchi charged through from his eight-place start until he was clear in second place and catching polesitter Bird by more than a second a lap.
The Brit’s lead lasted until seven laps from the end when Bianchi capitalised on a small mistake to make the pass, after which the Frenchman rapidly built a winning lead.
Bird said: “There was no way to beat Jules today. In the first half of the race, things went well for me and I was able to pull a gap. Towards the end of the race, the condition of my tyres became worse which made it easy for Jules to overtake me. My podium finish is nice, but I had been leading the race for a long time and of course I would have liked to win.”
The result moves Bird up to fourth in the standings, while Sims slips to 10th.