Signature star Mika Mäki defeated ART Grand Prix rival Valtteri Bottas for his first victory of 2009 as the F3 Euroseries visited Brands Hatch's Indy Circuit in England – as two home-grown drivers similarly made the points on home turf.
Behind the wheel of his Dallara-Volkswagen, Mäki took the chequered flag just over half a second clear of Bottas, after the race was interrupted for a high-speed collision between championship leader Jules Bianchi and Tiago Geronimi at Paddock Hill Bend. Whilst both happily emerged unscathed, the red flags flew, and the action was not able to resume again until much later in the afternoon due to the weekend's strict schedule. Mäki, though, was clearly unperturbed, and led every lap of both halves of the race.
“My first victory of the season feels really good,” enthused the delighted Finn. “Too bad it is only too late. At the start of the season, we lacked speed and a little bit of luck. The key to success here at Brands Hatch was the start, when I managed to overtake pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas.”
“When you start from pole position, of course you want to win as well,” rued the runner-up, nonetheless the race's best-placed rookie. “Now, I have finished second for the fifth time in a row and I finally want to win a race! In this race, Mika didn't make any mistakes and was really driving well. As a result, I didn't have any chance to overtake him.”
Christian Vietoris came home third for Mücke Motorsport to reduce Bianchi's advantage in the title standings to 19 points, three seconds clear of team-mate and fans' favourite Alexander Sims in fourth, with Motopark Academy's Christopher Zanella, the third Mücke Motorsport entry of Sam Bird, ART Grand Prix ace Esteban Gutierrez and Brendon Hartley for Carlin rounding out the top eight points finishers, the Kiwi thereby securing himself pole position for Sunday's reverse grid start.
“After the Nürburgring race, when my British team-mate Alexander Sims deprived me of a possible victory, I wanted to beat him here on his home soil,” revealed Vietoris mischievously. “I succeeded! Moreover, I was able to reduce the gap to Jules in the points standings. Maybe I can still score a couple of points tomorrow, so that I can close up to him even further.”
To see the race result in full, click here