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PaddockScout Roundup: GP2 and GP3 Hungaroring

by Peter Allen

GP2: Pic and Vandoorne win, Palmer twice defeats Nasr

GP2 Hungaroring

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service

Jolyon Palmer completed a fine turnaround in the two GP2 races at the Hungaroring, twice passing Felipe Nasr to extend his championship lead. Nasr had claimed his first ever GP2 pole in qualifying and claimed four points for doing so, while Palmer qualified off the front row for the first time all season, starting down in sixth. While Nasr led the early stages of the feature race, he later lacked pace and found himself defending from Palmer before they both pitted late on. An early safety car had rendered both their strategies useless, but Palmer fought through to fourth with Nasr sixth.

Nasr held second early in the sprint race while Palmer had to fight his way up to third after an unspectacular start, but the Briton was able to put a move on Nasr that – despite the Brazilian’s protestations during and after the race – was deemed to be fair and therefore finish second. Palmer thus extended his lead from 41 to 43 points – an impressive feat after the way his weekend started.

Arthur Pic capitalised on the safety car in the feature race to score his maiden win, making his early stop to change from options tyres to primes and being able to catch and stay with the leading train. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Takuya Izawa completed an unlikely podium from 22nd and 26th on the grid.

In the sprint race, Stoffel Vandoorne grabbed his first win since his debut victory in Bahrain, managing to pull away from Palmer and Nasr and setting the fastest lap on the final tour. The result moved the McLaren junior up from sixth to third in the standings ahead of Johnny Cecotto, Stefano Coletti and Mitch Evans who all failed to score in Hungary.

GP2 Series Round 7/11 ? Hungaroring, Hungary
Race 1
Report: Arthur Pic wins GP2 feature race at the Hungaroring
1st: Arthur Pic 2nd: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs 3rd: Takuya Izawa
Race 2
Report: Stoffel Vandoorne sprints to second GP2 win in Hungary
1st: Stoffel Vandoorne 2nd: Jolyon Palmer 3rd: Felipe Nasr
Championship standings
1 Jolyon Palmer 192 pts
2 Felipe Nasr 149 pts
3 Stoffel Vandoorne 109 pts
4 Johnny Cecotto 100 pts
5 Stefano Coletti 96 pts
6 Mitch Evans 92 pts
Next round: Spa-Francorchamps (23-24 August)

GP3: Stanaway becomes Lynn’s nearest rival, Niederhauser ends drought

GP3 Hungaroring

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service

Richie Stanaway scored his second win of the GP3 season in race one at the Hungaroring to become Alex Lynn‘s closest rival in the title race. After winning the first race from pole, Stanaway made up two places in race two to finish sixth. Lynn, meanwhile, lost two places at the start of race one to drop from second to fourth, but was able to repeat that end result on Sunday. His championship lead has increased from 40 to 41 points.

The Arden team enjoyed an improved performance, with Robert Visoiu and Patric Niederhauser featuring at the sharp end for the first time. A fast-starting Visoiu pushed Stanaway for the win but made an error when he attempted to move for the lead at the chicane and went off, dropping to third. The Romanian finished fifth in race two. Niederhauser meanwhile was sixth in race one and then made a quick start of his own to win race two – his first victory for more than two years.

Nick Yelloly completed a Status 1-2 in race one, while Dino Zamparelli and Jann Mardenborough made their second successive race two podiums. Jimmy Eriksson claimed a single point from his weekend and is now tied for third in the standings with Emil Bernstorff, who was fifth and seventh. Marvin Kirchhofer couldn’t score points after starting his weekend with a grid penalty.

GP3 Series Round 5/9 ? Hungaroring, Hungary
Race 1
Report: Richie Stanaway holds on to win first Hungaroring GP3 race
1st: Richie Stanaway 2nd: Nick Yelloly 3rd: Robert Visoiu
Race 2
Report: Niederhauser returns to the top step in second Hungaroring race
1st: Patric Niederhauser 2nd: Dino Zamparelli 3rd: Jann Mardenborough
Championship standings
1 Alex Lynn 134 pts
2 Richie Stanaway 103 pts
3 Jimmy Eriksson 85 pts
4 Emil Bernstorff 85 pts
5 Marvin Kirchhofer 80 pts
6 Nick Yelloly 74 pts
Next round: Spa-Francorchamps (23-24 August)

British F3: Jones returns to action with three Spa wins, Rao takes points lead

Ed Jones

Photo: British F3

Ed Jones returned from an 11-week lay-off for a back injury by winning all three British F3 races at Spa-Francorchamps as the field size increased from five to 14 for the trip to Belgium. Jones and Carlin team-mate Sean Gelael raced their FIA-spec cars, and did not register for points. While Jones won all three races – including coming from fifth on the grid in race two – Gelael scored two seconds and a third.

From those eligible for points, FR3.5 ace Roberto Merhi took two ‘wins’ on his return to F3 with Double R, finishing third overall in race one and second in race two, only being overhauled by Jones on the last lap. A fuel pump problem prevented him from starting race three, enabling Performance Racing returnee John Bryant-Meisner to finish third and claim full points after two fourths earlier in the weekend.

In the title race, Matt Rao jumped from third to first with an eighth, a sixth and a fourth from the three races. Rivals Martin Cao and Sam MacLeod both retired from one of the races after incidents. The top three are separated by just eight points, but MacLeod (who switched from Fortec to Carlin for this event) is set to miss two of the remaining three rounds due to German series commitments.

British F3 Round 4/7 ? Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Race 1
Report: Jones takes lights-to-flag win in Spa opener
1st: Ed Jones 2nd: Sean Gelael 3rd: Roberto Merhi
Race 2
Report: Jones pulls off last-lap overtake on Merhi to win race two
1st: Ed Jones 2nd: Roberto Merhi 3rd: Sean Gelael
Race 3
Report: Ed Jones completes Spa hat-trick
1st: Ed Jones 2nd: Sean Gelael 3rd: John Bryant-Meisner
Championship standings
1 Matt Rao 129 pts
2 Martin Cao 125 pts
3 Sam MacLeod 121 pts
4 Andy Chang 103 pts
5 Camren Kaminsky 78 pts
6 Marvin Kirchhofer 54 pts
Next round: Thruxton (16-17 August)

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC: Jorg and Schothorst score Spa wins

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC

Photo: Evers Media

Kevin Jorg claimed his second and third wins from four starts in this year’s Formula Renault 2.0 NEC at the Spa-Francorchamps, but had his race two victory taken away for a jump start. The Swiss driver had led both races from pole position, but a post-race penalty relegated him to 20th in the results for the second encounter.

That played into the hands of Steijn Schothorst by allowing the Dutchman to score his first win of the campaign – the seventh winner in eight races – and extend his championship lead. With Schothorst fourth in the opening race, a P2 finish for Ben Barnicoat allowed the Racing Steps Foundation-backed rookie to take the championship lead, but his fifth place in race two leaves him 13 points in arrears.

Louis Deletraz is just a further five points back after a double podium finish – third in race one and second in race two. Ukyo Sasahara and Gustav Malja moved up to fourth and fifth in the standings – the Japanese driver scoring a seventh and a fourth and the Swede taking a sixth and a third.

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Round 4/7 ? Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Race 1
Report: Kevin Jorg dominates first Formula Renault NEC race at Spa
1st: Kevin Jorg 2nd: Ben Barnicoat 3rd: Louis Deletraz
Race 2
Schothorst inherits Spa race two win after Jorg penalty
1st: Steijn Schothorst 2nd: Louis Deletraz 3rd: Gustav Malja
Championship standings
1 Steijn Schothorst 169 pts
2 Ben Barnicoat 156 pts
3 Louis Deletraz 151 pts
4 Ukyo Sasahara 112 pts
5 Gustav Malja 111 pts
6 Levin Amweg 107 pts
Next round: Assen (2-3 August)

Protyre Formula Renault: Fittipaldi makes it six from eight

Pietro Fittipaldi

Photo: Paul Davies Photography

Pietro Fittipaldi scored his fourth and fifth consecutive wins in Protyre Formula Renault at Brands Hatch, making it six wins from eight races so far this season for the Brazilian. In race one he grabbed the lead on the opening lap, while he led race two from pole position to chequered flag.

Matteo Ferrer finished second in each race, meaning that Fittpaldi could only extend his championship lead from 25 to 36 points as Ferrer moved into P2. Alex Gill completed the podium in race one, and finished fourth in race two. Piers Hickin lost ground in the title race by crashing out on the first lap of race one, but he saved his weekend by beating Gill to third in race two.

Protyre Formula Renault Championship Round 3/6 ? Brands Hatch, UK
Race 1
Report: Fittipaldi takes fourth consecutive win in race one at Brands Hatch
1st: Pietro Fittipaldi 2nd: Matteo Ferrer 3rd: Alex Gill
Race 2
Report: Fittipaldi goes two for two in second Brands race
1st: Pietro Fittipaldi 2nd: Matteo Ferrer 3rd: Piers Hickin
Championship standings
1 Pietro Fittipaldi 238 pts
2 Matteo Ferrer 202 pts
3 Alex Gill 182 pts
4 Piers Hickin 176 pts
5 Colin Noble 136 pts
6 Patrick Dussault 131 pts
Next round: Snetterton (30-31 August)

F3 Brazil: Piquet back in front at Curitiba

Pedro Piquet

Photo: Bruno Terena/Vicar

Pedro Piquet returned to winning ways in F3 Brazil at Curitiba, with the now-16-year-old victorious in both races. He led the first race from pole position, and went from sixth to first inside the first three laps.

Second to Piquet on both occasions was B class leader Vitor Baptista, twice within three seconds of the winner. Another B class driver Matheus Leist finished third in both races.

Piquet’s nearest rival Bruno Etman was a retirement in race one and finished seventh in race two, leaving him 60 points adrift of Piquet and seven ahead of Lukas Moraes – fifth and sixth in the two races.

F3 Brazil Round 5/8 ? Curitiba, Brazil
Race 1
1st: Pedro Piquet 2nd: Vitor Baptista 3rd: Matheus Leist
Race 2
1st: Pedro Piquet 2nd: Vitor Baptista 3rd: Matheus Leist
Championship standings
1 Pedro Piquet 139 pts
2 Bruno Etman 79 pts
3 Lukas Moraes 72 pts
4 Arthur Fortunato 49 pts
5 Renan Guerra 48 pts
6 Raphael Raucci 43 pts
Next round: Velopark (6-7 September)

Star Driver: Pietro Fittipaldi

As at Rockingham and Donington before, Fittipaldi is still not the quickest qualifier in Protyre Formula Renault but he is currently unstoppable in the races. With his rivals scoring consistently, he will need to keep up this kind of form to stay safely out front.

Pietro Fittipaldi

Photo: Paul Davies Photography