HHC Motorsport’s Sennan Fielding held off a late challenge from Struan Moore to take his first main season F4 victory in a thrilling race at Silverstone, beating Moore to the line by just 0.191s.
Pole sitter Fielding held a lead of a second at the mid race point, but Moore reeled him in to go wheel to wheel on the final lap, with the race finishing with Moore right under Fielding’s wing.
Arjun Maini claimed third for Lanan Racing after coming out on top of a battle with newcomer Alex Palou. Championship leader George Russell finished fifth despite damaging the nose of his car and went wheel to wheel with nearest title rival Raoul Hyman, who had a superb recovery drive from 15th on the grid after his Oulton Park penalty to take sixth.
Diego Menchaca took seventh for Douglas Motorsport ahead of Hillspeed’s Rahul Mayer, who will start the top-eight reverse grid race two, which takes place at 10.20am tomorrow morning, from pole position.
Mayer’s team mate Alfredo Zabalza claimed ninth, his best F4 race result, with Chris Middlehurst completing the top-10.
At the start, Fielding made a good start from pole, led by 0.3s at the end of lap one from Moore, while Palou had climbed from sixth on the grid to run third early on, right behind Moore, while Hyman had already gained six places to run ninth.
The lead trio lapped as one in the opening stages, with Palou briefly passing Moore on lap three. That battle enabled Fielding to open up a lead of over a second, but with Moore breaking clear of Palou, began to close down the gap.
On lap seven, the margin was down to eight tenths of a second, and was at half a second on lap eight. On the penultimate lap Moore was just 0.2s behind, and firmly in the slipstream of Fielding, with the pair going wheel to wheel on the last lap past The Wing and again on the Wellington Straight, with Fielding doing just enough to hold off the Lanan driver.
Front row starter Will Palmer made a great start to lead the race on the run to the first corner, but dropped out on the opening lap with a suspected electrical issue. Tom Jackson was also a first lap casualty after suffering accident damage.
Fielding commented: “I think that was the longest 10 laps of my life! It was a very challenging race that is for sure. All the way through I think Struan had just the quicker race pace so we will have to make a few changes to sort that out. The team did a great job and the car was absolutely fantastic. Hopefully I can get the car sorted for race two as well and hopefully we’ll get some more strong results.
“I was just hoping for the best all the way through the race, in the last three laps he was all over me and firmly in my mirrors. Struan had a great drive and he was good to race with as well as he gave plenty of room and made it very enjoyable.”
Karun Chandhok visits BRDC F4
The top three finishers were presented with their trophies on the podium by ex-F1 racer Karun Chandhok and BRDC member Piers Johnson.
“The quality of racing in BRDC F4 is brilliant and it’s a fantastic championship,” Chandhok commented.
“What Jonathan Palmer and his team have done with this series is fantastic, and I’m very glad to see an Indian driver on the grid for the first time, and he’s done a great job. Arjun [Maini] has won races and is on the podium again today and hopefully the floodgates will open for Indian drivers coming into BRDC F4.
“We need to try and get more young drivers into motorsport and platforms like the BRDC F4 Championship are a superb opportunity to get these young drivers across.”
In the championship standings, Russell extends his margin over Raoul Hyman to 22 points, while Palmer remains third. Maini is just three points behind him though with his podium finish, while Fielding and Moore are the final two drivers to have more than 200 points.
BRDC F4 Championship, Silverstone race one result:
1. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, 10 laps
2. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, +0.191s
3. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +2.658s
4. Alex Palou, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +3.223s
5. George Russell, Lanan Racing, +6.941s
6. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +7.465s
7. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +9.482s
8. Rahul Mayer, Hillspeed, +11.208s
9. Alfredo Zabalza, Hillspeed, +14.742s
10. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, +15.298s
Click here for full race result.
BRDC F4 Championship, championship standings after race 13 of 24:*
1. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 285pts
2. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, 263pts
3. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 246pts
4. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, 243pts
5. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, 228pts
6. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, 215pts
7. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, 188pts
8. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, 177pts
9. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, 166pts
10. Gaetano di Mauro, Petroball, 129pts
Races two and three at Silverstone take place tomorrow (Sunday) at 10.20am and 15.05pm.