Daisuke Nakajima was unable to capitalise on his maiden pole position and take the first race win of his Cooper Tires British F3 International Series career despite an impressive performance at Silverstone, instead having to settle for second place.
The Raikkonen Robertson Racing driver made a good start and expertly soaked up the pressure upon his shoulders to stay at the front of the field for the first time until Dutchman Renger van der Zande found a way past on lap ten.
On the following lap Nakajima was involved in a collision with the pursuing Max Chilton, but the younger brother of Williams F1 ace Kazuki nevertheless managed to keep his car on the track and, despite damage to the rear bodywork, went on to stave off the attentions of Daniel Ricciardo – the championship leader never more than half a second in his rear-view mirrors throughout – for the remainder of the race to bag 15 valuable points.
Double R team mate Carlos Huertas, for his part, crossed the finish line fifth following a race-long battle with sixth-place man Riki Christodoulou, and Nakajima later said he was happy with the result, even though he hadn't been able to convert being on the front row of the grid to being on the top step of the rostrum.
“I'm really pleased to finish on the podium,” enthused the 20-year-old. “Obviously I really wanted to take my first win, but I don't think I made any mistakes and it was the best we could have hoped for in the circumstances.
“Ricciardo was close at the end of the race, but he never really made a serious move. I knew there was a problem at the back of the car; I seemed to be losing quite a bit of time down the straights, so I was happy to take second.”
Team principal Anthony Hieatt was also pleased with the performance, and believes that his drivers should be competitive at the penultimate race in Portugal.
“Daisuke did a brilliant job,” Hieatt underlined. “If he hadn't had a problem with his rear bodywork, I think he could have won the race. He was really losing out down the straights but did a great job to hold off Ricciardo. He's a great racer under pressure and deserved at least second place.
“Carlos had a good weekend – he's really coming stronger at the end of the season. The next race at Portimao will be new for everyone, so I think both Daisuke and Carlos will be strong there.”
Earlier in the day, from fifth and ninth on the starting grid respectively, Huertas had finished sixth – right in the wheel tracks of Henry Arundel – with Nakajima ninth and the third Double R machine of Kevin Chen 17th.