Raoul Hyman Fends Off Opening Race Challengers To Take Early F4 Championship Lead
HHC Motorsport's Raoul Hyman claimed the first win of the 2014 BRDC F4 season on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit today (Saturday 26 April), after a thrilling conclusion to the race which saw five cars battling for the lead.
Starting from pole, the South African extended a lead of over three seconds on team mate Sennan Fielding early on, but from the midpoint onwards the gap reduced quickly, with a five car train forming at the end of the race. Hyman proved a strong defender as he fought off his team mate on several occasions to take his first ever win in F4.
Diego Menchaca claimed second for Douglas Motorsport after a late pass on Fielding who was forced to settle for third place after challenging strongly for the win during the midpoint of the race. Nicolas Beer rose from 10th on the grid to take fourth for Sean Walkinshaw Racing after a very strong drive.
George Russell was fifth for Lanan Racing with Gustavo Lima sixth for Hillspeed. Will Palmer took seventh for HHC Motorsport ahead of Lanan Racing's debutant Arjun Maini, who will take the top-eight reverse grid pole position for tomorrow's race. Rahul Mayer took ninth for Hillspeed and David Wagner completed the top-10 for MGR having started 20th.
The race was held in dry conditions, and Hyman made the most of his pole position to hold the lead going down to Copse corner. He stretched that advantage with a superb opening lap to lead by 2.4 seconds from Fielding, a gap which extended to 3.2 seconds at the end of lap two.
Fielding though began to close him down, and by lap six just 0.2 seconds covered the HHC duo. Fielding attempted a move down the Wellington Straight and around the outside of Brooklands, but Hyman was able to rebuff the challenge. Their duel allowed Mexican Menchaca to close up, bringing with him Beer and Russell, with the top five covered by just over two seconds in the final stages.
Menchaca passed Fielding on lap eight and then set about closing the gap to Hyman up front who had extended a small advantage while those behind engaged in battle. Ultimately the laps ran out for Menchaca, who was just half-a-second behind at the chequered flag, claiming second place and equalling his best ever F4 result.
The prizes on the podium were presented by ex-F1 racer Martin Donnelly, who is also competing at Silverstone in the Lotus Cup UK races.
Speaking after the race Hyman enthused: "That was a phenomenal race. I'm so happy to finally claim my first race win, and in the first race of the season as well. With pole as well you can't get a better start to a season than this.
"Sennan made it really difficult for me and he was really quick in the middle of the race. It's great to have him in the team and we push each other and I just managed to handle the pressure. We start eighth tomorrow so the first thing is to be safe in the first laps and hopefully keep this championship lead throughout the weekend."
BRDC F4 Championship, Silverstone GP, race one result:
1. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, 10 laps
2. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +0.505s
3. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +1.023s
4. Nicolas Beer, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +1.689s
5. George Russell, Lanan Racing, +2.120s
6. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, +5.509s
7. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +5.807s
8. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +7.771s
9. Rahul Mayer, Hillspeed, +16.760s
10. David Wagner, Mark Godwin Racing, +20.197s
BRDC F4 Championship standings after race one of 24:*
1. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, 35 points
2. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, 29 points
3. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, 24 points
4. Nicolas Beer, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 21 points
5. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 19 points
6. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, 17 points
7. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 15 points
8. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, 13 points
9. Rahul Mayer, Hillspeed, 12 points
10. David Wagner, Mark Godwin Racing, 11 points