Welsh race ace Seb Morris made an outstanding start to the BRDC Formula 4 Championship season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 27th/28th April, to bag three podium finishes and take the early championship lead in the prestigious new single-seater category.
Although unsure of what to expect in qualifying and race trim, having been disappointed with the pace in testing on Friday, 26th April, the Marford 17-year-old and his Hillspeed team turned their fortunes around dramatically on Saturday and Sunday with three sensational race performances.
Finishing third in round one, after a mightily impressive drive from seventh on the grid, Seb just missed out on his first F4 victory in the second encounter – having led for several laps – and added another runner-up spot in race three, coupled with the fastest lap, to seal an excellent weekend.
As well as receiving his round two trophy from British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) President Derek Warwick, the Marford youngster was presented with his round three silverware by Red Bull Racing’s FIA Formula One World Championship ace Mark Webber.
“It’s been a great weekend, especially after being a second and a half off the pace on Friday”, stated Seb, “It was a mountain to climb but we did it, we’ve got three podiums from the first weekend and scored big points which is great. We’re the only ones to have been on the podium in every race and that sort of consistency is what you need to challenge for a championship.
“We missed out on a win, which is a shame, but from the positions we started in, seventh, sixth and then third, I’m really happy with the results we’ve taken away and it’s fantastic to end the first F4 weekend leading the championship.”
Although disappointed to start round one on Saturday from seventh on the grid, Seb made a terrific getaway to quickly break into the top five and he then usurped Hillspeed team-mate Struan Moore on lap two for fourth place.
With the top three having already built a substantial advantage, the Ginetta Ambassador set about reeling them in and on lap five he was handed a golden opportunity when the two leaders tangled. He gladly moved into third place and, despite pressure in the closing laps, held on for the podium.
Beginning Sunday morning’s second round from sixth position – the starting order decided from the result of race one with the exception of the top eight being ‘reversed’ – the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star made a sensational launch to rocket into second before pressuring for the lead.
Setting the early pace, Seb piled on the pressure to Jack Barlow and produced a fantastic move at Village on lap three to move into the lead. Building a cushion of around one second by mid-distance, he was then the one to come under pressure and, on lap nine, Seb was edged back to second again.
“I drove the best I could in race two but there were several factors which didn’t enable me to win it”, he explained, “There was a big headwind down Hangar Straight so every lap I was creating a huge hole in the air for Jack [Barlow] to catch back up. The tyres went off near the end but the main thing was my mirrors dropped down, so I couldn’t defend like I wanted as I wasn’t sure where he was.”
In the third and final race of the weekend, Seb lined-up third on the grid and took second place into Maggotts before trying to hunt down pole-sitter Jake Dalton. With the leader on newer Yokohama tyres though, Seb’s task was a pretty impossible one so he instead put his focus on taking a very comfortable second place and, with it, the series lead.
Rounds four, five and six of the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship will take place three weeks from now, on 18th/19th May, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent where the category will support the spectacular DTM touring car championship.
Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings (after Rd3):
1st Seb Morris, 70pts
Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.