Reigning double champion Jamie Chadwick continued her perfect start to the 2022 W Series season by taking a sixth consecutive win in a dramatic race at Silverstone.
The Briton secured a commanding lights-to-flag victory to extend her 100 per cent record to four wins from four races this term and, in the process, take her points tally for the year to 100. Jamie stood on the top step of a W Series podium at her home race in Britain for the first time to extend her lead at the top of the championship standings to 47 points over compatriot Abbi Pulling who finished third. Emma Kimiläinen regained second place from Abbi on the final lap after the pair made contact in the closing stages.
Emma’s first podium finish of the season moved her up to fourth in the championship standings, one point and one place behind Beitske Visser and one place ahead of Alice Powell. Alice – the winner of last year’s W Series race at Silverstone – started third but finished out of the points in 14th after receiving a stop-go penalty for an infringement on the formation lap.
Fabienne Wohlwend – who was runner-up to Alice 12 months ago – continued her strong record at Silverstone by finishing fourth, just ahead of Beitske. Jessica Hawkins and Abbie Eaton finished sixth and seventh respectively to score points at their home race, while Belén García, Nerea Martí, and Sarah Moore completed the top 10.
Despite spots of rain falling as the drivers made their way to the grid, a sell-out crowd was in attendance on the Saturday of the Formula 1® Lenovo British Grand Prix 2022 weekend. The drama began before the lights had gone out when, at the start of the formation lap, Alice – who was promoted from fifth to third on the grid after qualifying when her deleted lap time for exceeding track limits was reinstated – stalled but made it off the line before the last car had passed her, allowing her to retake her starting place of third. However, she had been out of position in fourth at the first safety car line on the formation lap, resulting in a 10-second stop-go penalty from the stewards.
Jamie made a strong start from pole position and Emma and Alice slotted in behind her. Abbi was slow away from fourth, allowing Fabienne to take that place having started sixth. With four minutes gone, Alice passed Emma on the inside at Brooklands for second place, before pulling into the pit-lane to serve her penalty. That helped Jamie build a four-second lead after only two laps of the 30-minute plus one lap race.
Front-wing and sidepod damage after contact with Emely De Heus dropped Marta Garcia to the rear of the field as she was forced into a prolonged pit-stop while repairs were made to her car. Up ahead, Marta’s team-mate Fabienne was going wheel-to-wheel with Abbi in the battle for third. Abbi came out on top when Fabienne ran wide at Village, relegating her to fifth and promoting Beitske to fourth.
At the halfway stage, Jamie led Emma by more than five seconds and Abbi was a further two seconds behind. Jessica had progressed from 10th on the grid to sixth, and Nerea had made up more places than any driver, going from 15th to ninth.
The rain became more persistent as the second half of the race began, but Jamie continued to set purple sectors at the head of the field to extend her advantage to more than six seconds as the clock ticked below 10 minutes.
With the threat of heavier rain dissipating and Jamie enjoying a comfortable advantage in front, Emma’s attention turned to her mirrors where Abbi was looming large. The teenager set the fastest lap of the race to close to within half a second of Emma on the penultimate lap, at the end of which the pair made contact after going side-by-side on the Hangar Straight. That sent Emma spinning but, as the stewards were investigating the incident, she regained second place on the final lap as Jamie won by almost 20 seconds.
Jamie Chadwick said:
“It feels really good to win here and that’s a monkey off my back having not won a W Series race in Britain before today. I’m super happy with that drive. I got a bit nervy with the rain at one point but managed to maintain a good gap to the guys fighting behind me which was nice. I was really hungry coming into this weekend as this is the race all of the British drivers want to win, so it means a hell of a lot.”
Emma Kimiläinen said:
“It feels like it’s my lucky charm this year to be hit and spun around! Hopefully that ends at this point. I was defending my place and there was no space to come in, I couldn’t see Abbi [Pulling] so I turned in because I was quite a lot ahead. I don’t know if she locked a wheel, but she attacked, it happened, and then she was showing a praying motion with both hands to say sorry when we were facing each other. Even though that all happened within a few seconds, it felt like forever. I hoped there was no damage and I could continue, and then I saw either she had an issue or she wanted to let me back past because she clearly thought it was her fault, so we could finish the race in those positions.
“We learned a lot this weekend and it’s a learning process. There are things we still need to look at with the car and the set-up so we’re wiser for the next race, but it’s good we get two more races quickly after this and we can take this good feeling into those.”
Abbi Pulling said:
“I’m really happy to get a podium on home soil and it feels great to do it in front of a huge crowd at Silverstone. It wasn’t the start I expected and I struggled off the line, but I slowly progressed through and put pressure on Emma [Kimiläinen] at the end. I felt I had the pace throughout the whole race, and it was just a case of getting past people. Next time, I’ll learn for qualifying and not make any mistakes there so I can start further up the grid. I’m looking forward to France next – I like the circuit at Paul Ricard and it should be a great race.”
Dave Ryan said:
“Congratulations to Jamie [Chadwick] who is really showing her class at the moment through her consistency. Her whole approach to the race weekend was really good and it was shown on the track. I’m disappointed for Alice [Powell] and it’ll be interesting to see what she says when she gets back to the garages. That penalty deprived us of a closer race but no complaints. Well done Abbi [Pulling] and Emma [Kimiläinen]. I’m not sure who was at fault there, but the stewards are looking into it.”
For full W Series results and session timings from the fourth race of the 2022 W Series season at Silverstone, UK visit here.
The 2022 W Series season continues at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France on 22-23 July in support of the Formula 1® Lenovo Grand Prix De France 2022.
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Race 3 Results:
Emely De Heus