Felipe Nasr put in a peerless performance to claim victory in this morning’s sprint race at Silverstone: the Brazilian was never headed as he left his rivals in his wake for a dominant win in cold but dry conditions ahead of Stefano Coletti and Johnny Cecotto.
The Williams test driver’s victory was set up at the start with a sharp getaway from P2, easily dispatching poleman Stéphane Richelmi whose poor start saw him surrounded by countryman Coletti, who made a very good start indeed, and an equally rapid Cecotto, with Julian Leal also sneaking through at the first corner.
Series leader Jolyon Palmer snuck past Mitch Evans before the lap finished to put himself into his teammate’s mirrors, while Stoffel Vandoorne tried but failed to make the same move, dropping him back into the clutches of newcomer Marco Sorensen: the Dane kept a watching brief for a few laps before eventually striking, picking up the position on lap five.
Back at the front Nasr and Coletti were pulling away from their rivals, with the Monegasque driver closing a little each lap as he set himself up for an attack later in the race as his team cautioned him to watch his front left tyre. But Coletti was soon struggling, just as Palmer found a way past Richelmi and started to close on Cecotto.
Nasr was left to sail off into the distance, doing just enough to build a gap lap after lap but not so much that he took performance out of the car, easily winning by over 4 seconds from Coletti, who drove a mature race to nurse home his car for a well-earned second. Cecotto held off a late race challenge from Palmer to round out the podium, with Leal finishing a quiet race in fifth ahead of Richelmi, who denied a hard charging Evans, and Sorensen, who claimed a second points finish in his debut weekend.
Palmer leaves his home circuit disappointed to have not claimed the victory he so clearly wanted, but satisfied that his championship lead remains intact: he leads Nasr by 143 points to 105, with Cecotto behind them on 94 points, Evans and Coletti on 67 and just one point ahead of Leal, and Vandoorne on 58. In the teams’ title DAMS continue to hold off Carlin by 183 points to 171, ahead of Trident on 116 and Racing Engineering on 96 points, as they look forward to the next round at Hockenheim in just two weeks time.
Silverstone – Sprint Race
1. Felipe Nasr Carlin
2. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering
3. Johnny Cecotto Trident
4. Jolyon Palmer DAMS
5. Julian Leal Carlin
6. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS
7. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME
8. Marco Sorensen MP Motorsport
9. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
10. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax
11. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus
12. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport
13. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus
14. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport
15. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport
16. André Negrao Arden International
17. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME
18. Simon Trummer Rapax
19. Rene Binder Arden International
20. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing
21. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing
22. Arthur Pic Campos Racing
23. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix
Sergio Canamasas Trident
Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing
Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering
Fastest Lap: Stefano Coletti (Racing Engineering) – 1:42.460 on lap 6