Ezequiel Montero has secured his fourth consecutive win after a start to finish cruise to the checkered flag from Pole Position. His nearest championship rival, Cory Mackey, came in second 16 seconds behind after having started from P12 serving a 10 grid spot penalty from Austria. Third place went to the veteran Otto Acosta for Williams after finally showing strong pace both in qualifying and during the race.
The start of the race gave us multiple isolated incidents with Richard Haynie being the first off-track after losing control of his Williams getting off the grid. The approach to the quick turn 1 saw an overly cautious John Cook (Sauber) hitting too early and too heavy on the brakes, he was rear-ended by Sean Higgins in the Haas which forced him to stop for a new front wing at the end of lap 1. Turn 3 was the stage of a collision between Carlos Reina (Force India) and Ivan Georgiev (Ferrari) with both cars ending up facing the wrong way. There were multiple collisions at that point which filled the tarmac with razor-sharp carbon fiber pieces waiting to destroy brand new Pirelli tires.
Things settled after lap 1 with Montero, Bautista, Mackey, Acosta, and Fascelli all fighting up front. The race was looking great for Renault in the early stages but it was on lap 18 when the first to retire was Bautista (Renault) with an electronics issue which blew up the chance of a double podium finish for the French team. Argenis Riera (SRHF1) was the second DNF after going off-track at Copse. Ben Bowcott (Toro Rosso) was hit with a power steering issue mid-corner through turn 5 sending him to the grass and ultimately spinning just in the way of Ivan Georgiev who was recovering from an early Drive Thru penalty from a false start, both had to retire from that incident on lap 33. The last retirement came from Dave Carney on lap 47 after trying hard to fight his way back from an apparent lag-related collision.
There was a lot of action for the last point scoring position between Thedoros Eziroglou (Mercedes) and Darren Fisher (McLaren). It was the Greek who managed to pass Fisher on a last lap effort for P10 in what ended up being a controversial overtake maneuver where Eziroglou was handed a 2-second penalty, giving 10th back to Fisher.
The story of the race went to exceeding track limits at turns 9 and 15. The stewards were busy overnight reviewing both turns for violations and at the end time penalties were handed to all but Montero, Haynie, Cardozo, and Hunter. Eziroglou got the worst out of it with a whopping 26.5 seconds added to his final race time, which moved him from P11 down to P13.
Montero now holds a commanding lead over Mackey in the Drivers Championship with 22 points ahead of the Ferrari driver. Meanwhile, the fight for third has intensified with just 4 points separating Georgiev, Walcott, and Angelone. On the teams' side, Renault was close to reducing the gap to Ferrari substantially but it had to settle for just a 7 point cut putting the French team 26 points behind the Italians. As is the case with the Drivers Championship, third place in the Teams Championship is also up for contention between Mercedes, Force India, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, and McLaren.
We can now take a week off after three exhausting events. Next round, we are going back to the Hockenheimring for the SRHF1 2018 German Grand Prix on July 19th.
Re-live the race here: