Top Seven Best For Owega & Hillspeed At Silverstone GP
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire provided an outing of mixed fortunes for Hillspeed’s three BRDC British Formula 3 Championship drivers over the weekend, 9th/10th June, with Jusuf Owega delivering the highlight result of seventh place in round 10.
Car racing rookie Owega, only in his third race meeting in British F3, produced strong pace in both testing and qualifying and after racing to seventh in the opening encounter on Saturday afternoon, he bounced back from luckless contact in round 11 on Sunday to add a top eight finish in round 12.
Team-mates Sasakorn ‘Cutter’ Chaimongkol and Ben Hurst, like Owega arriving fresh at Silverstone with no prior experience, produced best results of 10th position and 15th place respectively for the Hathersage team as they gained more vital mileage in the UK’s premier single-seater championship.
Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “It was clear from the start on Friday we had a car that was very quick in each of the four sectors of the circuit and this continued throughout the weekend. We arrived at Silverstone off the back of a strong outing at Snetterton and felt confident. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out as they should have which is disappointing and frustrating for the team.
“Jusuf was very unlucky with the contact in race two, he was hit from behind and that cost a probable season-best finish. He made a great start to the race, gained a lot of places, and ran fastest lap pace early on. It wasn’t the weekend we should have had, so on to Spa now next month.”
Owega was the fastest of the Hillspeed trio in qualifying on Saturday, as he was in testing, with a good performance delivering the eighth fastest time with a lap of 1m57.081 seconds (112.55mph), which was less than 0.4 seconds shy of pole position. Chaimongkol was another 0.3 seconds shy of his team-mate, securing 11th on the grid for race one, while Hurst ended the session 17th quickest.
Making a good start to round 10 later in the day, German 16-year-old Owega maintained his placing in the top eight and put huge pressure on Billy Monger ahead lap after lap. With never more than a few tenths of a second between them, Owega made his move on the eighth tour to grab seventh and he proceeded to pull two seconds clear of his rival on his way to the chequered flag on lap 10.
Thai racer Chaimongkol was edged back to 12th place on the first lap where he stayed until lap six when slipping two further positions to 14th where he remained to the conclusion. Hurst, meanwhile, moved up into 16th on the first lap and the Canadian stayed there for the 10-lap duration.
Round 11 on Sunday began with Hurst on the front row of the fully ‘reversed’ grid in second place, Chaimongkol directly behind his team-mate in fourth position and Owega in 11th spot. Over the course of the first lap Hurst was shuffled back down to 15th position but with several rivals hitting drama during the race, he was able to recover into an eventual finish of 13th place.
Chaimongkol, from the second row, also lost ground on lap one to slip to eighth and despite being bundled back to 10th soon after, the Thai driver hit back to move into the top eight again on lap three. With positions in the mid-pack hotly contested during the mid-part of the contest, he managed to ultimately secure 10th place and took the flag a mere 0.3 seconds shy of ninth spot.
While his team-mates didn’t have the best of fortunes at the beginning of round 11, Owega bucked that trend and from the sixth row of the grid he climbed through into the top six on lap one with some excellent driving.
Setting the fastest lap on the second tour, the German was very well placed but a puncture on the very next lap – resulting from contact to the rear of his car – meant the Hillspeed racer had to make an enforced visit to the pits. Thanks to great work from the team he rejoined the race in quick order with a fresh tyre, eventually finishing the contest in 15th position.
For round 12, Owega started in seventh place and after slipping to eighth on the opening lap an uneventful encounter followed with the first-year car racer remaining in situ for the entirety of the contest. Posting a best lap of 1m57.248 seconds along the way, the Hillspeed driver’s highlight pace was within just a tenth of a second of that managed by championship leader Linus Lundqvist.
From 10th on the grid, Chaimongkol was bundled down to 14th at the beginning but did make progress back up the order and was into the top 12 by mid-distance. Unfortunately, though, he slipped back to 14th on the final lap following an excursion. Hurst climbed two places on lap one to move into the top 15 before ultimately ending the race in 16th position.
Next on the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship calendar is the sole overseas event of the season, the annual visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, over the weekend 21st/22nd July.
2018 BRDC British F3 Driver Standings (after Rd12)
12th Sasakorn Chaimongkol, 109pts; 15th Jusuf Owega, 72pts; 16th Ben Hurst, 69pts