Still too close to call.
Race Report: Club F1 2019.
Round 2 (1 June 2019).
Falcon Raceway GT.
Back in March, the opening round of the Club F1 championship was a tightly contested affair, with Lee and George leading the way. Darren and Steve both ended up with a decent haul of points too, and – with Anthony not far behind – the championship was wide open. By the time the dust settled after round two, the title race still didn’t have a clear favourite, and we had some new names on the winner’s rostrum too!
Qualifying got underway, and initially Steve and George were the only drivers to post a ‘banker’ lap. Nothing that’s ever going to seal pole, but a respectable time to keep them ahead of the back markers should anything go wrong later in the session. This was proved to be a wise move. Just as both were on their final quick runs as the clock ticked down to the end of the session, a succession of crashes in the esses blocked the track and prevented both from completing their laps. Anthony had completed his first quick run on low fuel the lap prior, so pole was his.
Race One – Qualifying Result:
1st Anthony (Tyrrell) – 9.069
2nd Steve (McLaren) – 9.084
3rd George (Lotus) – 9.209
4th Cliff (Ferrari) – 9.305
5th Scott (Williams) – 9.549
6th Norman (Benetton) – 11.448
Steve made the superior handling of the McLaren count in the opening laps, getting the jump on Anthony from his front row slot and pulling away. A crash on lap five was to undo all his good work and he dropped back to fourth. George assumed the lead of the race, but he too ran into trouble later in the race.
A Fortuitous First
Having lead for the majority of the race, George looked certain to start the day’s racing with a win. A problem with his controller entering ‘limp’ mode after a track call stoppage resulted in him being stranded in the pits. The delay, albeit relatively brief, was enough to drop him back to second. But who inherited the lead? Scott had been running in second, with a solid performance with the Williams. He had been passed by Steve a lap before George’s troubles, who had also muscled by Anthony a few laps before that, so crossed the line a fortuitous first.
Race One Result (cumulative points tally in brackets):
1st Steve (Mclaren) – 46 laps (9)
2nd George (Lotus) – 45 laps (6)
3rd Scott (Williams) – 45 laps (4)
4th Anthony (Tyrrell) – 45 laps (3)
5th Cliff (Ferrari) – 37 laps (2)
6th Norman (Benetton) – 24 laps (1)
Fastest Race Lap: Steve – 8.846
Darren and Steve set the early pace in qualifying for race two, getting a banker lap in early. At the end of the session, it was Anthony who once again was quickest when it counted and grabbing another pole position. Then, with the clock about to click down to zero, George crossed the line and grabbed the second front row slot from Steve’s Williams by one thousandth of a second.
Race Two – Qualifying Result
1st Anthony (McLaren) – 8.808
2nd George (Ferrari) – 8.931
3rd Steve (Williams) – 8.932
4th Darren (Tyrrell) – 9.017
5th Scott (Benetton) – 9.251
6th Norman (Lotus) – 10.338
Anthony made no mistakes from pole this time, and was able to keep George behind him as the race started. Quickly building a big lead, Anthony was able to consolidate his position and command the race from the front. George, meanwhile was to suffer a succession of spins, and steadily dropped back. Losing out first to Darren, who was to run second for much of the race, and then to Steve. Then, with a handful of laps to go, Steve made his move, grabbing second from Darren.
Race Two Result:
1st Anthony (McLaren) – 49 laps (12)
2nd Steve (Williams) – 47 laps (15)
3rd Darren (Tyrrell) – 47 laps (4)
4th George (Ferrari) – 46 laps (9)
5th Scott (Benetton) – 46 laps (6)
6th Norman (Lotus) – 34 laps (2)
Fastest Race Lap: Anthony – 8.725
Qualifying for race three was fiercely contested, with Darren emerging quickest with the McLaren. Behind him, second and third were separated by less than three hundredths of a second, with Anthony edging the fight for second at Steve’s expense. Lee’s final quick run was spoilt by traffic, so had to settle for fourth.
Race Three – Qualifying Result
1st Darren (McLaren) – 8.863
2nd Anthony (Williams) – 8.966
3rd Steve (Benetton) – 8.990
4th Lee (Tyrrell) – 9.134
5th Scott (Lotus) – 9.234
6th Norman (Ferrari) – 11.940
Fuel was the deciding factor in race three, but did not mean there was no action on track. Anthony and Darren had a furious battle for the lead that raged for much of the race, and – in the first half of the race at least, were joined by Steve’s Benetton. Behind them, another fight was going on – this was between Lee and Scott, with fourth place the prize.
The fuel factor came into play towards the end of the race. Anthony and Darren had judged their fuel stops perfectly – both finished the race on fumes, with Darren edging the win over Anthony. Steve, however, took on slightly too much during his stop, and ended up third, some way back from the leaders. There was another sizable gap back from Steve, where fuel also decided the final places. Lee had edged the fight for fourth, but ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap, handing the place to Scott.
Race Three Result:
1st Darren (McLaren) – 49 laps (13)
2nd Anthony (Williams) – 49 laps (18)
3rd Steve (Benetton) – 48 laps (19)
4th Scott (Lotus) – 46 laps (9)
5th Lee (Tyrrell) – 45 laps (2)
6th Norman (Ferrari) – 33 laps (3)
Fastest Race Lap: Lee – 8.752
The Lotus is largely considered to be one of the quicker cars on the grid. It’s handling is a little twitchy compared to the McLaren, but in a straight line at least it has the measure of most of the other cars on the grid. It was in this car that Steve set the early pace in qualifying for race four, but ultimately, he was unable to beat Lee or Darren’s pace. The former proving very fast indeed in the McLaren, and Darren making good use of the Williams to join him on the front row. Anthony narrowly missed out on third on the grid, posting a time less than a hundredth slower than the Lotus.
Race Four – Qualifying Result:
1st Lee (McLaren) – 8.697
2nd Darren (Williams) – 8.739
3rd Steve (Lotus) – 8.964
4th Anthony (Benetton) – 8.973
5th Scott (Ferrari) – 9.308
6th Martin (Tyrrell) – 10.222
The opening laps of race four were frantic, with the pack mixing it, and a number of positions changing early on. Steve muscled his way up to second by the end of the first lap, but a crash on lap three dropped him back to fourth, where he would remain for the rest of the race. The fight for the win was largely contested by Lee and Anthony, with Lee edging the final result. Darren, who finished third, was not too far behind in the end, but had not been able to challenge for the first two places.
Race Four Result:
1st Lee (McLaren) – 42 laps (11)
2nd Anthony (Benetton) – 42 laps (24)
3rd Darren (Williams) – 42 laps (17)
4th Steve (Lotus) – 41 laps (22)
5th Scott (Ferrari) – 34 laps (11)
6th Martin (Tyrrell) – 32 laps (1)
Fastest Race Lap: Darren – 8.710
Darren was the star of qualifying for race five. The Benetton car he was using for this race is probably one of the slower in the paddock. It lacks the grunt of many of its rivals, but it’s smooth to drive, which makes it forgiving through the twisty stuff. Darren therefore did very well to take pole with this car, beating Lee’s Williams and Anthony’s Lotus to pole. Behind them, Cliff made good progress with the Tyrrell, posting a time just four hundredths shy of Anthony’s. Steve, meanwhile had an issue with the Ferrari’s braids and fifth was the best he could manage.
Race Five – Qualifying Result:
1st Darren (Benetton) – 8.717
2nd Lee (Williams) – 8.799
3rd Anthony (Lotus) – 9.039
4th Cliff (Tyrrell) – 9.077
5th Steve (Ferrari) – 9.784
6th Martin (McLaren) – 10.110
Darren and Lee were involved in a battle for the lead that raged for much of the race. Anthony, meanwhile, had dropped back early on after a spin, which promoted Cliff to third – a position he would hold on to for much of the race. The scrap at the front meant the leading duo never built too much of a lead, and Anthony was able to switch his strategy. Conserving fuel, he ran much deeper into the race before stopping, and as a result passed the three cars ahead of him before the end of the race to take the win. Steve, who again had struggled with the Ferrari for much of the race, grabbed fourth when Cliff crashed with a few laps to go.
Race Five Result:
1st Anthony (Lotus) – 48 laps (33)
2nd Lee (Williams) – 47 laps (17)
3rd Darren (Benetton) – 47 laps (21)
4th Steve (Ferrari) – 46 laps (25)
5th Cliff (Tyrrell) – 43 laps (4)
6th Martin (McLaren) – 41 laps (2)
Fastest Race Lap: Anthony – 8.760
Qualifying for race six was another close run thing. George looked set for pole, until Darren popped in a late lap which beat his time by a tenth. Behind them, things were even closer; Lee took third with the Benetton on 8.711, beating Anthony into fourth by one thousandth of a second.
Race Six – Qualifying Result
1st Darren (Lotus) – 8.552
2nd George (Tyrrell) – 8.636
3rd Lee (Benetton) – 8.711
4th Anthony (Ferrari) – 8.712
5th Cliff (McLaren) – 9.715
6th Martin (Williams) – 10.206
Disaster struck for the front row pair for Darren and George, with both crashing out going into turn two on the opening lap. Darren was quick to fight back, and within a few laps was back dicing with Lee for the lead and before long was back in front. Meanwhile, George was to have a few more minor spins and crashes, all of which delayed him further back in fourth.
Once again, Anthony was biding his time and, with the front runners engrossed in their own battles or mishaps, was able to conserve his fuel. Pitting much, much later, Anthony took the lead of the race late on, and held on to claim another win. The drama was far from over, however. Lee, now cruising to third place, ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap dropping behind both George and Cliff.
Race Six Result:
1st Anthony (Ferrari) – 49 laps (42)
2nd Darren (Lotus) – 48 laps (27)
3rd George (Tyrrell) – 47 laps (13)
4th Cliff (McLaren) – 47 laps (7)
5th Lee (Benetton) – 46 laps (19)
6th Martin (Williams) – 45 laps (3)
Fastest Race Lap: Darren – 8.580
Another tight qualifying session heralded race seven. This time the first three on the grid were separated by a mere eight hundredths of a second, with George edging the fight to take pole.
Race Seven – Qualifying Result:
1st George (McLaren) – 8.718
2nd Lee (Lotus) – 8.784
3rd Darren (Ferrari) – 8.788
4th Cliff (Williams) – 9.064
5th Norman (Tyrrell) – 9.787
6th Martin (Benetton) – 10.093
Lee Launches Lotus into Lead
Getting the jump on George at the start, Lee launched into the lead with his Lotus. Ultimately, George’s pace was to see the McLaren sweep by into the lead on the back straight on lap seven. Things turned even more sour for Lee after this, as crashes saw him drop behind both Darren and Cliff. Lee was to fight back to pass Cliff, but a misjudged pit stop ultimately saw him drop back to fourth behind Cliff at the end. With George long gone at the front, Darren rolled home second, and the battle of the back markers saw Martin improve to take fifth.
Race Seven Result:
1st George (McLaren) – 51 laps (22)
2nd Darren (Ferrari) – 49 laps (33)
3rd Cliff (Williams) – 48 laps (11)
4th Lee (Lotus) – 48 laps (22)
5th Martin (Benetton) – 46 laps (5)
6th Norman (Tyrrell) – 33 laps (4)
Fastest Race Lap: Lee – 8.547
Lee and George were the clear winners in qualifying for the eighth and penultimate race. With Darren and Anthony’s racing done for the day, this would be a good chance for them to make up ground in the points. Neither driver disappointed, and in a close fight, it was Lee who took pole, posting a time one thousandth of a second quick than that of George.
Race Eight – Qualifying Result:
1st Lee (Ferrari) – 8.786
2nd George (Williams) – 8.787
3rd Scott (Tyrrell) – 9.035
4th Cliff (Benetton) – 9.374
5th Martin (Lotus) – 9.690
6th Norman (McLaren) – 10.758
If it was a pair of familiar faces at the top of the times in qualifying, the name at the top at the end of the race was maybe more of a surprise. George had taken an early lead, but a crash on his third lap had dropped him down to fifth. Lee happily inherited the lead and went about building a lead. Indeed, by a third of the way into the race, he was coming up to lap erstwhile leader, George. It was in making this move that Lee piled into the back of George; the resulting carnage allowing Cliff through into the lead.
Cliff Takes His First Win!
This was the defining moment of the race. From this point onward, Cliff kept things clean and steady, and didn’t put a wheel wrong on his way to his maiden win. Behind him, Lee and George conspired to keep tripping over themselves and others, both of them crashing their way down the order and bringing Scott into contention. The Tyrrell runner had a good, clean race and ultimately pipped George for the final podium place.
Race Eight Result:
1st Cliff (Benetton) – 48 laps (20)
2nd Lee (Ferrari) – 47 laps (28)
3rd Scott (Tyrrell) – 47 laps (15)
4th George (Williams) – 47 laps (25)
5th Martin (Lotus) – 42 laps (7)
6th Norman (McLaren) – 36 laps (5)
After marshalling for three races, Steve returned to the action for the final race knowing that a victory was essential to keep him in contention in the title race. He got off to a good start in qualifying, leading for much of the session, until Scott put in a quick lap on his final run which eclipse Steve’s fastest time by just under two hundredths of a second.
Race Nine – Qualifying Result:
1st Scott (McLaren) – 8.816
2nd Steve (Tyrrell) – 8.833
3rd George (Benetton) – 8.995
4th Cliff (Lotus) – 9.107
5th Martin (Ferrari) – 9.870
6th Norman (Williams) – 10.036
Steve leapt into the lead on the inside of turn one. On the run down to turn two, he attempted to defend his position by immediately moving to the inside. It was a clumsy move, which coincided with Scott attempting to accelerate down the inside to retake the lead. The resulting collision took both drivers out, dropping them to the back of the field. Scott fought back admirably in the McLaren, first passing the Ferrari and Williams of Martin and Norman, before chasing down Cliff and George to take the lead. There he would remain til the chequered flag to seal his first F1 win.
Steve’s recovery from his first lap crash was less stellar. Another crash at the end of lap one, delayed him further, but he ultimately caught up with third-placed Cliff and, after a battle which saw the position traded a handful of times, made a move stick to secure the bottom step of the podium.
Race Nine Result:
1st Scott (McLaren) – 49 laps (24)
2nd George (Benetton) – 47 laps (31)
3rd Steve (Tyrrell) – 45 laps (29)
4th Cliff (Lotus) – 44 laps (23)
5th Martin (Ferrari) – 43 laps (9)
6th Norman (Williams) – 34 laps (6)
Fastest Race Lap: Scott – 8.739
Results from Round Two:
1st Anthony: 42
2nd Darren: 33
3rd George: 31
4th Steve: 29
5th Lee: 28
6th Scott: 24
7th Cliff: 23
8th Martin: 9
9th Norman: 6
With the dropped round rule taken into consideration, his performance in round two has catapulted Anthony to the top of the F1 standings. Lee and George’s better performance in round one have kept them to within a point or two of the top. Meanwhile, Darren and Steve’s duplication of their round one scores have kept them just about in touch with the leaders. Round three on 18th July could see one racer put daylight between himself and the chasing pack – who will it be?
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