Arriving at Brands Hatch this weekend, Brendon Hartley had gone seven races in the 2009 F3 Euroseries without scoring so much as a single point. Following on from his eighth-place finish in race one and reverse grid pole position for race two, the Kiwi is now a winner in the hotly-fought championship.
Not only did the result mark the former Red Bull Racing Formula 1 test driver's maiden triumph at the level, but it was also his Carlin Motorsport team's breakthrough success as the 19-year-old produced a flawless performance to stave off Mücke Motorsport pairing and home favourites Alexander Sims and Sam Bird for glory.
Sims, indeed, took advantage of the first of two safety car periods to overtake ART Grand Prix rival Esteban Gutierrez at the re-start and shortly afterwards his own team-mate Bird, who could lay claim to the hard luck story of the race as a clutch failure left him unable to challenge for victory and convinced that he has some kind of jinx hanging over him around the Kent circuit.
The first safety car was prompted by Basil Shaaban hitting the barrier in his Prema Powerteam machine, whilst a collision between Carlin's Jake Rosenzweig, Manor Motorsport's César Ramos and Adrien Tambay of ART Grand Prix triggered the second. Fellow ART Grand Prix star and countryman Jules Bianchi retired in the pits after just six laps, but still retains his championship lead with a margin of 16 points over the closing Christian Vietoris, who came home fourth for Mücke after starting sixth. Gutierrez and Saturday winner Mika Mäki rounded out the points-scorers in fifth and sixth respectively.
“Having scored my maiden race win in the Formula 3 Euroseries is just great!” enthused a jubilant Hartley. “I am also happy for my Carlin team. They have been working very hard over the last two years in the Formula 3 Euroseries. I didn't make any mistakes during the race, which is why I have won.”
“I drove a pretty good race,” mused Sims. “I started fifth and I thought that third place would be realistic – that I even ended up third is even nicer! This weekend I have scored some points, which was my goal.”
“I didn't have an easy race,” countered the frustrated Bird. “First of all, my clutch went, and secondly, I had the problem that my steering wheel was stuck for a brief while right after the first re-start. As a result, Alex could overtake me. I think that I drove one of my best races ever, but I am disappointed that I only ended up third. I had the speed for a better result.”
To see the race result in full, click here