Bottas storms to victory at Spa
27 August 2011 – Valterri Bottas claimed a dominant win during the first GP3 race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday afternoon, overcoming Lotus ART team-mate James Calado to extend his lead in the championship. Dutchman Nigel Melker completed the podium, making a move stick on Adrian Quaife-Hobbs to claim the position.
Bottas was the strongest starter as the lights went out in wet conditions, overhauling pole-sitter Calado at the first corner. The Finn was untouchable as he settled into the lead over the next few tours, while Alexander Sims also made strong and consistent progress, climbing up to ninth from 16th on the grid over the course of the first lap.
Bottas held an eight second lead after a succession of fastest laps at the front, pulling away lap after lap from Calado who was now a lonely second. Status GP driver Sims soon had all of his hard work undone with a bold move on Conor Daly for fifth, making substantial contact at Blanchimont before retiring with steering issues.
Despite his best efforts in the closing stages, Calado failed to close the gap to Bottas and the latter completed a comfortable lights-to-flag victory. Quaife-Hobbs held onto fourth behind Melker, with Daly a few seconds further down the road. Tom Dillmann fended off Nico Müller for sixth, while Richie Stanaway took an impressive eighth place finish on his GP3 debut to claim pole position for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race.
Sunday's Race 2 begins at 9.20am local time (BST +1)