18 May Hill takes more points towards championship
18th May, Brands Hatch – The first race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Brands Hatch saw a busy grid of twenty-eight cars. For the Fortec Motorsports team of Felix Serralles, Pipo Derani and Josh Hill the race saw some strong results. Hill took more points towards the championship when he crossed the line in eighth, whilst Derani finished a respectable fourteenth. After a brief outing into the gravel Serralles fought his way back to cross the line in sixteenth.
Hill’s race got off to a strong start when he powered off the start-line to move up into eighth place. As the 22-year-old Formula 3 rookie went into the first corner, he slipped back into ninth and again into tenth at turn three, settling in to sit behind Jordan King (Carlin). Hill continued chasing King and as both gained pace they were catching the pack up front.
As the race continued the pack settled in, and as overtaking became increasingly difficult Hill begun to heavily apply pressure onto King. Up front in third, Sven Muller (Ma-con) had stopped on track, and just a few laps later Nicolas Latif made an exit into the gravel resulting in both tumbling down the order and gifting the chasing pack two positions. Hill, now in eighth, continued on the tail of King but the front pack had caught traffic and backed off, allowing no chance for overtaking despite the fast pace. Hill took the chequered flag in eighth, taking valuable points towards the championship where he currently sits in ninth.
Team-mate Pipo Derani had also had a good start, moving up three place to sit in eighteenth from twenty first on the grid. The Brazilian found himself sat in front of Richard Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and behind Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing). With all three drivers pushing hard to get into the top ten they continued to chase the field. Derani quickly found speed and was up in seventeenth when Muller stopped on track gifting him sixteenth, where he stayed until a few laps later when the mistake by Latifi promoted Derani again into fifteenth. After continuing to gain pace Derani crossed the line in a credible fourteenth place.
For Serralles his race wasn’t to go to plan. The young driver started from fourteenth on the grid, slipping down into fifteenth on the first lap after traffic got the better of him. However Serralles was continuing to apply pressure to the field up front and, just as he was looking to make a move and climb up the order on lap eighteen, contact with Nicolas Latifi (Carlin) sent Serralles off into the gravel seeing him tumble down the order and into twentieth. After the mistakes made by the field up front Serralles was promoted to eighteenth where he continued to push, gaining pace and crossing the line in sixteenth.
Commenting after the race Hill said: “ I had a good start and feel I was quick off the line, however I was up to eighth by turn one then back down to tenth at turn three. Brands just settles into a rhythm and you’ve just got to keep applying the pressure. I know the track well so feel confident here.”