Nasr steals last-gasp victory at Paul Ricard
17 July 2011 – Felipe Nasr claimed a dramatic victory at Paul Ricard on Sunday afternoon, benefiting from a final corner clash between Carlin team-mate Kevin Magnussen and Hitech’s António Félix da Costa on the last lap of the race. The championship leader bounced back from a 30-second penalty in this morning's race, finishing just ahead of Félix da Costa who recovered to grab second place ahead of Fortec driver Will Buller.
Magnussen made a perfect getaway from pole position, while Nasr and Félix da Costa battled for second off the line. The Brazilian ultimately came out on top, just moments before a multi-car collision at the first corner. Pietro Fantin, Jazeman Jafaar, Scott Pye and Harry Tincknell were all forced to retire, forcing the Safety Car to be deployed.
The now 16-strong field circulated for a total of five laps before being released, with Magnussen leading a green flag lap for the first time so far this weekend. Rain began to fall lightly at this point, although the track surface was nowhere near wet enough to start thinking about a switch to wet tyres. The Dane stayed calm at the restart to build an early gap over his rivals behind, but was soon to be back under pressure.
After closing in on the lead, Nasr made a slight error and slid into the back of Magnussen’s car, resulting in light contact. The pair were luckily unaffected in terms of position, but Nasr slipped back slightly. He quickly had Félix da Costa in his mirrors, before the Portuguese driver launched up the inside at Turn 1 to grab the position.
Magnussen did his best to pull away over the next few laps, but Félix da Costa consistently delivered quick lap times to ensure the victory was still within his grasp. As the race entered its closing stages, just 1.5 seconds separated the top three drivers, with Félix da Costa and Nasr trading positions during an intense battle for second place.
As a result of the fight, Magnussen was able move clear at the front and extend his lead to more than one second. However, a dramatic last-lap crash with Félix da Costa would end his chances of victory, leaving him to ponder what might have been once again. Nasr inherited the win in similar fashion to the final race at the Nürburgring last time out, with Magnussen’s misfortune seemingly reappearing every weekend.
Jack Harvey and Rupert Svendsen-Cook delivered strong performances once again to finish fourth and fifth respectively behind Buller, while Carlos Huertas, Fahmi Ilyas and Hywel Lloyd completed the top eight. Bart Hylkema recorded his first top ten finish of the year in ninth ahead of Double R's Pipo Derani, while Magnussen limped home in 13th.
Félix da Costa loses podium finish
The British F3 field will be back in action at Spa Francorchamps in a fortnight's time