Carlin’s Daniel Ricciardo has extended his British F3 championship lead by what may prove to be an unassailable margin during a subdued weekend for most of the British drivers at Silverstone.
Ricciardo qualified on pole for the series’ round 15, with his team-mate Max Chilton helping to fill out the front row, then led from lights to flag to win his fifth race of the season.
The 20-year-old Australian made a faultless start, unlike Chilton who got off badly and immediately dropped to fourth, allowing the Hitech pairing of Renger van der Zande and Walter Grubumuller through.
The race saw little overtaking, except when Grubmuller managed to steal a march on van der Zande on lap 17, so it just remained for Ricciardo to keep his head and nurse his advantage home for the full points haul.
Chilton recovered from his slow getaway to hang on to fourth ahead of his Carlin team-mate Henry Arundel, then Carlos Huertas, Wayne Boyd, Riki Christodoulou, Daisuke Nakajima and Adriano Buzaid. CF Racing’s Hywel Lloyd was 12th and Jay Bridger 16th, behind national class contender Daniel McKenzie.
In round 16 van der Zande claimed the third win of his 2009 campaign after demoting pole-sitter Nakajima, of Raikkonen Robertson Racing, to second halfway through the race in order to secure an 11-second victory. Ricciardo took third to extend his points advantage even further.
Nakajima got away beautifully, pursued by Chilton, van der Zande and Grubmuller, with Ricciardo slotting into fifth on the opening lap.
But eight laps down the road van der Zande passed Chilton for second and Ricciardo caught out Grubmuller to relieve his chief title rival of fourth place. On the next lap van der Zande forced his way past Nakajima around the outside at Abbey to take the lead and secure the race.
Chilton tried to follow van der Zande’s example and made a move on Nakajima at Becketts on lap 11 but their cars touched and the British driver spun back to ninth.
Christodoulou finished the race as the highest-placed Brit in sixth, with Chilton seventh, Boyd eighth and Arundel ninth. Lloyd was 11th, MacKenzie 16th and Bridger 19th.
Ricciardo now leads the championship with 210 points, followed by Grubmuller on 165, van der Zande on 157 and Chilton on 105. There are four more rounds remaining, at the Algarve and Brands Hatch.
Standings (points-scorers only):
- Daniel Ricciardo, Carlin: 210 points
- Walter Grubmuller, Hitech: 165 points
- Renger van der Zande, 157 points
- Max Chilton, Carlin: 105 points
- Adriano Buzaid, T-Sport: 100 points
- Riki Christodoulou, Fortec: 95 points
- Daisuke Nakajima, Raikkonen Robertson: 84 points
- Henry Arundel, Carlin: 74 points
- Nick Tandy, JTR: 68 points
- Marcus Ericsson, Raikkonen Robertson: 65 points
- Carlos Huertas, Raikkonen Robertson: 57 points
- Wayne Boyd, T-Sport: 44 points
- Victor Garcia, Fortec: 26 points
- Jay Bridger, Litespeed: 18 points
- Hywel Lloyd, CF Racing: 16 points
- Robert Wickens, Carlin: 12 points
- Oliver Oakes, Carlin: 7 points
- Philip Major, Carlin: 6 points
- Stephane Richelmi, Barazi Epsilon: 2 points
- Kevin Chen, Raikkonen Robertson: 1 point