Different delight for podium duo
After picking up just three points in the past three races for two poles and a fastest lap, Tristan Cliffe returned to the podium in the second race of the penultimate round of the 2013 F3 Cup season held at Donington Park.
After picking up just three points in the past three races for two poles and a fastest lap, Tristan Cliffe returned to the podium in the second race of the penultimate round of the 2013 F3 Cup season, held at Donington Park. Louis Hamilton-Smith handed Alex Craven the win and Cliffe second after an early error dropped him to third and gave him a good view of the raging battle in front of him.
Hamilton-Smith started the race from pole thanks to his fastest lap in race one and led until he came unstuck on lap three.
"It is a bit frustrating but there you go, it was my mistake." Hamilton-Smith later confessed. "I took the lead and thought I might be all right and then I just lost it going into the chicane under braking. I was still all right to come third."
That mistake allowed Cliffe and Craven to slip through, and Cliffe admitted he briefly thought he may have even been handed the win from his third-placed spot.
"I thought it was going to be a tough third but Louis made the mistake. I thought he might have even collected Alex, which would have been a bit of a dream come true, no disrespect to Alex, but he didn't. He got through and we were at it hammer and tong after that."
Over the closing few laps there was little more than half a second between the front two. Cliffe's badgering could only force one chance but the Omicron Motorsport racer failed to make the most of it.
"He made one mistake, I just couldn't capitalise on it so I had to not settle for second but accept second. Fair play to Alex, he was quick and it's good to see that Alice has been making mistakes." Cliffe said.
Louis Hamilton-Smith behind was busy making ground again on the front two after his moment, especially when Cliffe's move failed to come off. He was within a second of Cliffe, but slipped back after the front two put in a brace of stellar laps.
"I was catching for a bit but it just plateau'd off. Overall it's been a good weekend for me. On the performance side it is good to have good pace rather than getting a lucky third. We've had genuine pace so I'm pretty happy with that. It's a good way to end the year really, I'm satisfied." A visibly pleased Hamilton-Smith said.
And while Hamilton-Smith is sitting out the final round of the season, Cliffe still has the title in his sights, saying: "It's mathematically still on but I really need Alice to make mistakes. I must admit when the red flag came out and I saw the white, red and green car stalled on the exit of the chicane I thought all my Christmases had come again. Then I saw I it was number 17 which is a shame, I like Stuart.
"I got the fastest lap extra point in the end and I'm 25 points behind so I need to keep pushing, anything can happen at Snett. If they take themselves off and I happen to win because with no Louis or David Scott there's a good chance I'd win and jump to the top. All I can do is keep pushing."
With two races to go there are still 62 points to be won. Alex Craven leads the championship by three points from Alice Powell with Cliffe 45 points adrift. Each driver must drop three scores which ties Craven and Powell at the top of the table and brings Cliffe to within 25 points.