Lanan Racing’s George Russell has extended his BRDC F4 Championship lead to 21 points after taking a podium and a victory in today’s (Sunday 18 May) two thrilling races on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Both races proved extraordinarily close affairs, with the victory margins being just 0.044 seconds and 0.415 seconds respectively. Hillspeed’s Gustavo Lima was the winner of the former, holding off Mark Godwin Racing’s Chris Middlehurst in the closest ever F4 race finish.
Lima started the race from pole position, secured by finishing eighth in yesterday’s opening race. The 17-year-old Brazilian led off the line and held off a race long challenge from Middlehurst with the gap between the pair never extending beyond 0.4 seconds. On the drag to the line, Middlehurst went for the outside only to miss out on the win by half a car’s length.
Russell passed Lanan team mate Arjun Maini on the final lap to finish third to extend his championship lead, which overnight had stood at just one point, with Maini settling for fourth ahead of HHC Motorsport’s Sennan Fielding and Will Palmer. Struan Moore claimed seventh for Lanan Racing, ahead of Douglas Motorsport’s Mexican duo Diego Menchaca and Rodrigo Fonseca. Yesterday’s race winner Raoul Hyman had originally finished in sixth place but was adjudged by the race stewards to have made a false start and was handed a 10 second time penalty, dropping him to 10th in the result.
Race three saw Russell avoid the misfortune of others to clinch his third win from the six races held so far. Russell’s team mate Arjun Maini initially led the way having started on pole secured by setting the fastest race lap of the weekend, but he was quickly embroiled in battle with HHC’s Hyman. The South African made a move stick on Maini on lap two, but Maini immediately fought back at Graham Hill Bend on lap three, the move pushing both drivers wide and allowing Russell through into the lead.
Russell proceeded to pull out a gap of 1.7 seconds with Hyman, Maini and Fielding squabbling for second place behind. Fielding was able to move ahead of the pair and broke free from the fight, and began to hunt Russell down gradually, with the pair separated by 0.4 seconds for the final two laps, with Russell just doing enough to hold on to the win.
Hyman secured his second podium of the weekend with third place but was forced to defend from Maini, Middlehurst and SWR’s Jordan Albert, with the quartet separated by just 0.8 seconds at the flag. Albert’s sixth place represented his best race result of the year, coming after a nightmarish day yesterday when a practice crashed ruled him out of both qualifying and race one. Team mate Diego Borrelli also secured his best finish with seventh place ahead of HHC’s Will Palmer. The Brazilian PetroBall team celebrated their first top-10 finish with Gaetano di Mauro in ninth, with Douglas Motorsport’s Charlie Eastwood completing the top-10.
Speaking at the end of the weekend, Russell commented: “This was my first time on the Brands Hatch GP circuit in an F4 car but we got our heads round it quite quickly and learned the track well. Being honest, we weren’t the outright quickest all weekend; there were a few drivers who were very quick, especially the drivers who raced here last year. Today has been a really good day though, gaining two places in race two to get onto the podium and in the last race we took advantage of everyone else’s incidents to get into the lead and I held it quite well.
“I’m obviously very happy about extending my lead in the championship but at the moment I’m just taking it one race at a time. I’m not focusing on the championship at the moment and I’m just aiming to keep consistent.”
In the championship standings, Russell holds a 21 point advantage over Hyman with Maini third a further 14 points back. HHC duo Sennan Fielding and Will Palmer are next up with Chris Middlehurst completing the top six.
BRDC F4 Championship, Brands Hatch GP, race two result *
1. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, 14 laps
2. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, +0.044s
3. George Russell, Lanan Racing, +4.892s
4. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +5.173s
5. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +8.797s
6. Will Palmer, Lanan Racing, +13.963s
7. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, +14.966s
8. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +15.210s
9. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, +15.570s
10. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +20.418s
*The race result remains provisional until final publication by the timekeepers on Tuesday. In addition to Hyman’s penalty, Nicolas Beer were handed a 60 second time penalty after an incident with David Wagner.
BRDC F4 Championship, Brands Hatch GP, race three result **
1. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 14 laps
2. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +0.415s
3. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +8.087s
4. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +8.452s
5. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, +8.550s
6. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +8.852s
7. Diego Borrelli, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +13.461s
8. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +14.807s
9. Gaetano di Mauro, PetroBall, +16.292s
10. Charlie Eastwood, Douglas Motorsport, +17.324s
** The race result remains provisional until final publication by the timekeepers on Tuesday.
BRDC F4 Championship standings after race six of 24: ***
1. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 155pts
2. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, 134pts
3. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, 120pts
4. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, 99pts
5. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport 99pts
6. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, 91pts
7. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, 89pts
8. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, 86pts
9. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, 70pts
10. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, 61pts