Bianchi fends off Vietoris at Silverstone
9 July 2011 – Lotus ART driver Jules Bianchi took an inspired Feature Race win at a wet but drying Silverstone circuit this afternoon, ultimately winning a fierce battle for the victory with Racing Engineering rival Christian Vietoris. The podium was completed by iSport driver Marcus Ericsson, while championship leader Romain Grosjean battled through the field from 13th on the grid to claim fourth.
The decision was made to start the race behind the Safety Car amid worsening track conditions, with more rain falling after the Formula 1 qualifying session. Three laps went by before the the cars were released, with Bianchi quickly pulling away when green flag racing commenced. Álvaro Parente struggled for pace in the early stages, dropping to fourth place when Vietoris and Dani Clos found a way through.
A little further down the road, Ericsson was under intense pressure from a train of cars behind. Team-mate Sam Bird, Esteban Gutiérrez, Grosjean and Max Chilton were all involved, with the quartet still squabbling for position when the pit stops began. Race-leader Bianchi was one of the last men to visit the pit lane, coming out just ahead of Vietoris before being overtaken in fine style just moments later.
Bianchi eventually came out on top after an exhilarating encounter at the front of the field, going on to pull out a comfortable lead before the chequered flag fell. Grosjean won the battle for fourth ahead of Sam Bird and Clos, while Stefano Coletti held Giedo van der Garde at bay for seventh. The latter will start tomorrow’s reverse grid Sprint Race from pole position, giving his already strong title hopes a slight boost.
- The intense battle for the lead can be viewed at GPUpdate TV
Sunday's Sprint Race begins at 9.30am local time (BST)