There were three different winners in the second Brazilian Formula 4 round in Interlagos, which replaced June’s cancelled round at Brasilia.
Championsip leader Vinicius Tessaro expanded his margin at the top over the weekend and now has a 20-point gap over Luan Lopes. He topped both practice sessions, then beat Alvaro Cho to first place in qualifying by 0.038 seconds. That earned him pole for races one and three, with Cho on the front row for both.
Tessaro had a solid start to race one, while Cho stalled. Lopes moved straight into second as a result, then overtook Tessaro on lap four with a move around the outside at Laranjinha. Tessaro tried to retake the lead, but Lopes kept his nerves to soak up the pressure and claim his first series win and TMG Racing’s first of the season.
Matheus Comparatto and Joao Tesser had a remarkable battle for third, in which Comparatto prevailed then also managed to pass Tessaro. The top four were split by 1.8s at the end of the 17-lap race.
The reversed-grid pole for race two went to Thai racer and A14 Management member Carl Bennett, making his first appearance in Brazil.
He showed great pace in practice in his Bassani Racing-run car and finished eighth in race one, but stalled at the start of race two.
Rookie Mateus Callejas inherited the lead and kept it until the chequered flag for his first win. He was joined in the top three by two first-time podium visitors: Arthur Pavie in second and Lucca Zucchini in third.
Race three, held on Sunday morning, was the first ever wet Brazilian F4 race. Poleman Tessaro started badly, and Lopes overtook both him and Cho. But Lopes’s lead lasted only two corners, as Tessaro was ahead again by the back straight.
He proceeded to pull away by three seconds, with Lopes building a similar gap to the fight for third between Bennet and Cho. After Saturday’s mistake, Bennett had a remarkable start, jumping from sixth to third and avoiding Tesser’s stalled car immediately ahead of him on the grid.
Cho followed Bennet closely and went wide on his most effective attack at the Senna ‘S’. He gave back the position down the next straight and had to settle for fourth in final laps. Comparatto extended his points lead in the rookie classification by finishing fifth.
The weekend also featured the return of Fernando Barrichello, son of former Formula 1 racer Rubens and whose main programme this year is Spanish F4,
He was not far from Tessaro in practice, but faced brake issues in qualifying and Saturday’s races. His Cavaleiro Sports team took the bet of starting him from the pitlane with slick tires for race three, but the track did not dry as they expected and he was classified two laps down.
Race 1 (17 laps)
1 Luan Lopes TMG Racing 27m53.982
2 Matheus Comparatto Bassani Racing +0.488s
3 Vinicius Tessaro Cavaleiro Sports +0.931s
4 Joao Tesser TMG Racing +1.834s
5 Lucca Zucchini Calaveiro Sports +10.891s
6 Arthur Pavie Bassani Racing +11.189s
7 Mateus Callejas Cavaleiro Sports +11.485s
8 Carl Bennett Bassani Racing +14.116s
9 Alvaro Cho TMG Racing +20.538s
10 Rafaele Ferreira TMG Racing +22.848s
Pole: Tessaro, 1m37.317s
Fastest lap: Comparatto, 1m37.428s
Race 2 (12 laps)
1 Callejas 19m45.866s
2 Pavie +0.919s
3 Zucchini +4.931s
4 Tesser +5.082s
5 Comparatto +9.022s
6 Cho +10.676s
7 Tessaro +11.421s
8 Fernando Barrichello Cavaleiro Sports +13.409s
9 Bennett +13.957s
10 Ferreira +20.158s
FL: Bennett, 1m37.780s
Race 3 (15 laps)
1 Tessaro 27m01.901s
2 Lopes +4.283s
3 Bennett +6.301s
4 Cho +9.888s
5 Comparatto +13.734s
6 Callejas +15.861s
7 Pavie +19.551s
8 Zucchini +25.169s
9 Nelson Neto Bassani Racing +27.308s
10 Alexandre Machado Bassani Racing +30.612s
P: Tessaro, 1m37.206s
FL: Tessaro, 1m46.522s
1 Tessaro 97 2 Lopes 77 3 Cho 65 4 Comparatto 55 5 Callejas 46 6 Pavie 41 7 Tesser 38 8 Zucchini 36 9 Neto 36 10 Bennett 20