British F3 | Review: O’Sullivan Pushing for Title Contention in Donington
If there was any doubt that O’Sullivan was able to dominate a whole weekend, he proved the doubters wrong. All of this, while team-mates from other teams crashed and kept on crashing.
Zak O’Sullivan (UK) - Carlin | © Jakob Ebrey
The third round of BRDC British F3 Championship in Donington Park got underway smoothly for Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan (UK) who set pole position for Race 1 and the fastest second-fastest time of anyone else: which means pole position start also for Race 2. An impressive Arden’s Roman Bilinski (POL) got P4 on his debut – as temporary replacement for his team-mate Frederick Lubin (UK) as explained here – only stopped by a track limits sanction which cancelled his best lap and demoted him onto P5.
Qualifying Results | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Race 1 Results | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
If we compare the first two races with the third one, there were not many things going on. In Race 1 penalties were meted out to both Dittmann’s Ayrton Simmons (UK) and Elite’s Javier Sagrera (ESP). The Senna-called-alike received 5 seconds for track limits, while the double amount of time was previewed for the Spaniard who jumped the start. Fortec’s Roberto Faria (BRA) stalled at the start and fell down the order and Bilinski made it just into the top 5 in his first ever Formula 3 Race! O’Sullivan got a clear victory in front of his rival Hitech’s Reece Ushijima (JP).
From Left to Right: Reece Ushijima & Bart Horsten | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Each Driver’s Second Fastest Lap | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Race 2 Results | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Moving onto Race 2, Zak repeated his success again - with a smaller gap this time. Douglas’ Reema Juffali (SAU) broke her front wing in circumstances which were not shown on camera while being P15. Then the first of two crashes between team-mates of this weekend happened: Hitech’s Bart Horsten (AUS) went down the inside of Ushijima at Goddards and the result of it was the Japanese on three wheels and the Australian with a five-place grid penalty for Race 3.
From Left to Right, zoomed: Zak O’Sullivan & Reece Ushijima | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Reema Juffali started Race 3 on reversed-grid pole, being rapidly overtaken by Dittmann’s Max Marzorati (UK) in the first few metres. While the Saudi woman was fighting at the front, Juffali’s team-mate Dexter Patterson (UK) pushed Faria off the circuit in the fight for P8 and eventually received a ten-seconds’ time penalty. On the following lap, Arden’s Alex Connor (UK) went wide at Schwantz Curve and ended on the grass. The two title contenders then crashed while fighting for P14! Ushijima pushed O’Sullivan off on the right side of the track section leading to Melbourne Hairpin and both retired. After the race, the Japanese received a five-place grid penalty for Race 1 in Spa-Francorchamps. While the pair were crashing, Sagrera broke his front wing under unclear circumstances.
From Left to Right: Max Marzorati & Ayrton Simmons | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
The safety car was then deployed after that shocking crash and after the Safety Car period, there was a change for the lead with Fortec’s Mikkel Grundtvig (DK) taking the place of Marzorati. There came the second team-mate crash: after having lost the lead to Grundtvig, Marzorati defended too harsh on Simmons at the exit of McLean’s, with the other Dittmann car ending on the gravel and re-joining further behind. It was a difficult race for the Brazilian Faria who followed Simmons in going wide at the same point – even though not being pushed by someone else – and for the pole-sitter Reema Juffali who spun at the exit of Fogarty Esses. Not a great time for Mexico neither as the two fellow countrymen Hitech’s Sebastián Álvarez and Elite’s José Garfias received the same penalty – 5 seconds for abusing track limits – in the same lap! All of this happened while Álvarez was driving P2 and so he ended P10 thanks to that penalty. The Dane Mikkel Gundtvig amazingly won his first Formula 3 race in front of Marzorati and Elite’s Tom Lebbon (UK).
Race 3 Results | © 2021 BRDC BRITISH FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
This is what the championship leader O’Sullivan had to say: “It was the first weekend where we’ve been on the pace of the front runners from the start and were even a bit quicker than them, which was a positive step. We made an adjustment to the car which was to my liking and that showed in qualifying with the double pole. Both times I was able to get the start and lead from the front.
In the second race, I had a big lock-up which cost me some time and allowed the others to close up, but I just concentrated on getting a good exit from the chicane consistently, so they couldn’t challenge me into the hairpins at the end of the lap.
The third race wasn’t ideal, to put it bluntly. I got a good exit from the chicane and Ushijima just kept moving across on me. But we both didn’t finish, so there’s no gain for him in the championship.
On the following meeting at Spa: There really is no pressure for me at Spa, as I think all but three or four drivers know the track and have raced there before, I just have two sessions on the Friday to learn the track and then it is straight into qualifying, which will be pretty intense!”
Mikkel Grundtvig (DK) - Fortec | © Jakob Ebrey
The first-time winner, Mikkel Grundtvig: “It was an amazing race, and I think it was a really good performance from my side, especially from our first race at Brands Hatch where I started third and I ended up fifth. So I knew this time I had an extra shot to do it and when I was in P1, I was just fully focused on driving it safely home. It’s just amazing. When I was P2 I was getting closer and closer. It was a good overtake [on Marzorati] but also well driven from both sides, it was really really good.”
This Weekend's Best Moments | © sebmotors.info 2021
Below are the standings after this Donington round:
Drivers’ Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021
Constructors’ Standings | © sebmotors.info 2021
You can re-watch the sessions at these links:
-Race 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLLY4d52qUI ;
-Race 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkFGBtsaT3w .
Next round will be at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) on July 24th.
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