Kiwi scores first Euro Formula 3 victory
New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley won the Euro Formula 3 Championship race at Brands Hatch in England over the weekend, the 19-year-old delighted to be back on the top step of the podium after a tough first season in the junior racing category.
“Scoring my first win in the Formula 3 Euro Series is just great. I didn’t make any mistakes during the race - which is why I have won - but we were also lucky because I picked up a slow puncture and the tyre was almost flat by the time I got back to parc ferme after the finish,” said Hartley.
It was Hartley’s first victory since the British Formula 3 race at Spa in 2008 and he led from start to finish. He started from pole position in the reverse top eight format after finishing eighth in the Saturday race.
“I made a good start and was pulling a lead until I started to lose rear grip because of the tyre. It was strange because we also had a deflating tyre during the Saturday race.
“It’s been a struggle against the long established Euro F3 teams that are more experienced with the Kumho tyres; so I am also happy for my Carlin team. They have worked very hard over the two years since they joined the series.”
The Red Bull driver kept his cool at the start with a perfect getaway and kept second-placed Bird a safe distance behind. An accident on lap 19 brought out the safety car and closed up the field, but Hartley made the perfect restart to again pull away from Bird. A second safety car period on lap 30 bunched up the field, but once again Hartley kept his cool to control the pace from now second-placed man Sims.
"I'm so pleased to have won here; it's been too long since my last really good result. I didn't need to push, I just had to concentrate on controlling the race. I know this was a reverse grid race, but everyone in the top ten of this championship is good enough to win, so I'm happy.”
British drivers Alexander Sims and Sam Bird completed the podium after the 14th season round in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Jules Bianchi retired in the pits after six laps, but still retains his championship lead with a margin of 16 points.