The Australian’s fight up the order from seventh on the grid saw him engaged in a number of entertaining battles. Namely with team-mate Quinn who mounted a sustained attack for multiple laps as both drivers tried to make progress. Piastri doing well to hold off the hard-charging 2016 British F4 Rookie Champion.
Like Piastri, Simmons was also flying up the order having started eighth. Both were on a mission in the latter stages, lapping quicker than those around them and gaining the upper hand as they made their bids for the podium.
Simmons was the first to take the fight to the squabbling Jamie Caroline and Linus Lundqvist in a captivating three-way tussle for the lead. However it was Piastri who took the final podium spot, opportunistically squeezing past Simmons, with Logan Sargeant also scything through to relegate Simmons to fifth ahead of Quinn in sixth.
The final race of the weekend promised much with Quinn on pole. The racer from Camelford, Cornwall setting his sights on victory at his home race. It wasn’t to be, with the fast-starting Caroline seizing the lead in the opening exchanges.
Quinn soon became locked in a battle for second with Oliver York and Sargeant. Despite his robust defence the pair eventually broke through, aided by the slipstream effect down Thruxton Circuit’s long straights. Quinn fell into the clutches of Piastri and after briefly dropping behind his team-mate, fell out of contention following a spin at Club due to clattering the kerbs when trying to find a way back past.
Piastri looked set for fourth, but Lundqvist and Karl Massaad had other ideas leaving Piastri in the sixth. Nonetheless, it was a crucial points haul for the Aussie which sees him maintain second spot in the drivers’ standings. Quinn lies seventh, 33 points behind him and Simmons eighth just 4.5 points further back having seen his final race of the weekend thwarted by an off-track excursion.
Oscar Piastri: “It was really good to be back on the podium. I didn’t get the best of starts and had a really good battle with Alex in the second race of the weekend. As the race progressed I managed to close up to the leaders and fought my way up to
the podium places. There were no team orders in the battle with Alex. It was really hard, but very fair racing. Obviously we’re in the same team so if we had come together it wouldn’t have been good, but there’s a lot of respect between us as team-mates. I thought once I had closed up to the pack at the front that the podium was on. I don’t quite know how I actually got into third place to be completely honest. I almost threw it away coming out of complex on the last lap which made the last corner a bit exciting, but I managed to hold on. The final race was alright for me. The start could have been better and then I settled into what I thought was quite a comfortable fourth place. The straights at Thruxton seem a lot longer when someone is chasing you down though! Heading into the last lap I had a little bit of contact with Lundqvist and that damaged my front wing which didn’t help as tried to overtake him. It could have been a better outcome, but I’m still happy to have brought home some points to stay second in the standings. There’s a big gap to close down, but we’ll be trying to make inroads in the next round at Oulton Park.”
Ayrton Simmons: “I started eighth in the second race of the weekend and overtook two cars on the first lap. Then I just kept making progress further forward. Eventually I made it up to second, but Lundqvist behind was able to take advantage of the
tow to get back past. In the last few laps it became a five-way fight for third. I was pleased with what I did in that battle and just disappointed I couldn’t stay on the podium. It was a bit unfortunate really because I felt like I drove the race of my life and I was so happy about it, but there are lots of positives to take. In the final race I was following about ten cars and suffered from so much understeer through the corners. At one point it forced me to run wide at turn seven. It was really strange and it put me out of
contention with the time I lost.”
Ben Bloomfield - Arden F4 Team Manager: “We had really good pace in the cars in qualifying, but it seemed to be very hard for us to make the progress we would have liked in the races. Not for want of trying I think our drivers have performed really
well. Race two saw a phenomenal job from Oscar, carving his way through the field. Had it been a slightly longer race I think he would have won it. Ayrton did an outstanding job too. Unfortunately he had a bit of a coming together and that caused him to drop back. I think the races this weekend could have been anyone’s for the taking and that’s why there was a little bit of disappointment with where we finished; particularly in race three.”