Carlin’s GP3 drivers made progress in the opening race in Valencia this afternoon, in hot and sunny conditions around the F1 street circuit. Leonardo Cordeiro pushed hard to finish 10th having lined up 24th, while Conor Daly crossed the line 12th with Morad 15th following a drive-through penalty.

As predicted the action kicked off in the early stages of the race, with a first lap accident causing problems for several drivers. Morad was one driver to be caught out by the unfolding melee and was forced to cut the first corner in an effort to avoid a collision.

Behind him, team mates Cordeiro and Daly were also making progress. Cordeiro suffered a damaged nose cone as the field bunched up, but escaped any serious damage. After the restart Cordeiro and Daly had moved up to 15th and 18th respectively while Morad was in a strong 10th place.

Daly continued to show the progress he was making in his first season in Europe, and had overtaken several cars to 15th place. Morad’s good run in ninth place was dealt a blow when he was handed a drive through penalty for exceeding track limits on the opening lap, which put him down to 15th.

Daly continued to push until the final lap, passing Vittorio Ghirelli on the final lap, to cross the line just 0.090 seconds ahead and seal 12th, while Cordeiro had pushed hard and made no mistakes to climb to tenth place.

Cordeiro was happy to have made his way up to 10th place, commenting, “My start was good. I made up places in the first corner as I braked late and stayed on the inside. I stayed away from the crashes which I think was the key today. The car was really good, especially in the mid to late stages of the race and it felt great under braking which meant I was able to overtake people. I didn’t make any mistakes and kept pushing hard to the end to finish 10th. “

Team mate Daly added, “I didn’t have the best start but I did get past the crashes on the first corner so I made up a few places then. Then I had a good restart once the safety car had come in and passed a few people. The car was really fast and I was able to keep pushing, although I struggled with the two cars in front by the time I was 13th. I caught the car ahead, but it seemed that he brake tested me as closed in on him unexpectedly and damaged my front nose. Despite that I was able to keep going. I passed Ghirelli into the last corner and managed to grab 12th, which gives us a good grid slot for tomorrow.”

Morad was disappointed to have gained a drive-through penalty which compromised his afternoon, “The start was hectic as expected and there was a big accident at the first corner. I took the safe decision to take the inside line to avoid the incident but the stewards later deemed that I had exceeded track limits. It’s a shame because there wasn’t anything else I could do and we hade top running pace which could have realistically given us reverse grid pole for tomorrow.”

The GP3 drivers will be back on track for race two tomorrow at 09.25 local time.