Nico Müller took his first GP3 victory of the 2011 season in a rain affected race at Silverstone Circuit today. The Jenzer Motorsport driver finished 2.8s ahead of Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims and Atech CRS GP’s Nick Yelloly.
Any hopes the enthusiastic crowd had of a British winner today were dashed when the heavens open seconds before the formation lap. Nineteen of the of the thirty cars chose to enter the pits instead of joining the starting grid to switch to wet weather tyres, and thus starting the race from the pitlane. Jenzer Motorsport had made the bold decision to send Müller out on wets earlier despite the relatively clear skies leading up to the start of the race, and the Swiss driver effectively started on pole from sixth place on a half empty grid.
Müller’s getaway was slow and he was passed by RSC Mücke Motorsport Michael Christensen, but the Dane came together with teammate Nigel Melker, allowing Müller back into the lead. Yelloly also benefited from Mücke’s misery to move up into second spot ahead of Luciano Bacheta in the third Mücke car. When the remainder of the field all fed out on track to join the race, original poleman Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was down in ninth ahead of James Calado, Lewis Williamson, Alexander Sims, Valtteri Bottas and Mitch Evans. And over the next 14 laps the race was well and truly on as the pack tried to claw their way back into the points.
As Müller pulled away, Sims was the man on the move. The British driver was the fastest man on track and by lap 6 had made his way through the pack up into fifth spot behind Quaife-Hobbs who had hauled himself up into fourth. Over the next two laps Quaife-Hobbs caught and passed Bacheta for the final podium spot. Sims was next to make quick work of the Mücke driver and was soon putting pressure on Quaife-Hobbs. The Status GP man made his move into turn 1 and then set his sights on Yelloly for second.
With the chequered flag fast approaching, Addax Team’s Dean Smith snatched eight spot from Maxim Zimin to take reverse grid for tomorrow’s sprint race, while Sims continued his onslaught taking second spot. Müller was victorious for the first time this season, and was joined on the podium by the of Sims and Yelloly – with the later scoring Atech CRS GP’s first GP3 podium. The final points paying positions went to British drivers meaning tomorrow’s reverse will be all British front row with Smith on pole alongside Williamson.
Next up for GP3 Series is Race 2 tomorrow morning at 08:20 local time.
Race 1 result:
DRIVER NAT TEAM LAPS TIME GAP
1 7 N. MULLER SUI Jenzer Motorsport 14 30:40.239
2 4 A. SIMS GBR Status Grand Prix 14 30:43.053 2.814
3 21 N. YELLOLY GBR Atech CRS GP 14 30:44.990 4.751
4 10 A. QUAIFE-HOBBS GBR Marussia Manor Racing 14 30:47.639 7.400
5 29 L. BACHETA GBR RSC Mucke Motorsport 14 30:55.466 15.227
6 3 J. CALADO GBR Lotus ART 14 30:58.883 18.644
7 28 L. WILLIAMSON GBR MW Arden 14 30:59.554 19.315
8 25 D. SMITH GBR Addax Team 14 31:04.944 24.705
9 20 M. STOCKINGER PHI Atech CRS GP 14 31:07.591 27.352
10 26 M. EVANS NZL MW Arden 14 31:08.077 27.838
11 11 R. HARYANTO INA Marussia Manor Racing 14 31:09.945 29.706
12 17 A. VAINIO FIN Tech 1 Racing 14 31:10.590 30.351
13 27 S. TRUMMER SUI MW Arden 14 31:11.424 31.185
14 8 M. ZIMIN RUS Jenzer Motorsport 14 31:15.028 34.789
15 14 C. DALY USA Carlin 14 31:16.030 35.791
16 9 V. GHIRELLI ITA Jenzer Motorsport 14 31:20.636 40.397
17 2 V. BOTTAS FIN Lotus ART 14 31:35.237 54.998
18 16 L. CORDEIRO BRA Carlin 14 31:58.410 78.171
19 6 I. LUKASHEVICH RUS Status Grand Prix 14 32:00.283 80.044
20 5 A. FELIX DA COSTA POR Status Grand Prix 14 32:23.738 103.499
21 18 T. HYLKEMA NED Tech 1 Racing 13 30:51.712 1 LAP
23 T. DILLMANN FRA Addax Team 11 24:40.226 DNF
24 G. CHAVES COL Addax Team 11 24:40.941 DNF
22 Z. AMBERG SUI Atech CRS GP 8 18:46.475 DNF
1 P. NUNES BRA Lotus ART 3 7:15.257 DNF
30 M. CHRISTENSEN DEN RSC Mucke Motorsport 1 2:37.268 DNF
19 T. PAL KISS HUN Tech 1 Racing 1 4:34.410 DNF
31 N. MELKER NED RSC Mucke Motorsport 0 DNF
12 M. LAINE FIN Marussia Manor Racing 0 DNF
15 D. MORAD CAN Carlin 0 DNS
4 A. SIMS GBR Status Grand Prix 2:05.985