Wickens storms to Race 1 victory
20 August 2011 – Robert Wickens delivered a commanding drive to win his third race of the season at Silverstone this afternoon, taking the championship lead due to misfortune for Carlin team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne. ISR’s Daniel Ricciardo made a late and daring move on Alexander Rossi to claim second, with the latter completing the podium.
"It’s been a great day, to get the pole and then to go onto win," Wickens told reporters. "It wasn’t a perfect race, I made a mistake on the first or second lap, but Carlin’s car was fantastic and I was able to just control the pace and take the win. It’s great for the championship, I’m back in the lead and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow."
The Canadian got off the mark well when the lights went out, but for team-mate Vergne it was a completely different story. The latter stalled before the formation lap got underway and was forced to start from the pit lane, with the Frenchman likely to pick up a penalty because of his mechanics being on the grid after the allowed time frame.
Despite an error at Village, Wickens maintained his lead over Rossi and Ricciardo in the early stages, with the trio beginning to edge clear at the front. Nathanaël Berthon, Albert Costa and series newcomer Nick Yelloly all benefited from Brendon Hartley's grid penalty for a front wing infringement, battling until the chequered flag for fourth place.
Wickens gradually pulled away during the final few laps, as Rossi suffered from increasing tyre wear. Ricciardo was therefore able to jump ahead of the American with just under ten minutes to go, launching up the inside at Village to secure the position. Berthon was not close enough to challenge Rossi despite his best efforts, finishing as best of the rest ahead of Costa and the highly impressive Yelloly.
Sten Pentus was next up for Epic Racing in seventh, just ahead of Oliver Webb who backed up Pons team-mate Yelloly to earn more points for the squad. Kevin Korjus grabbed ninth in front of Walter Grubmüller to round out the top ten, while Jean-Eric Vergne, who is now 21 points behind Wickens in the standings, fought back to 13th.
Sunday's Qualifying 2 begins at 8.45am local time (BST)