Sims is on the podium once again
THERE was Dutch delight for Alexander Sims at the weekend.
The Wansford speedster earned yet more silverware at Zandvoort on Sunday in front of 43,000 spectators after finishing in second place during the 20th staging of Europe’s biggest and most prestigious stand-alone Formula 3 race, the RTL GP Masters of F3.
Setting the pace throughout the weekend at the Dutch venue, the 22-year-old Team UK driver was most definitely the man to beat having headed the opening practice session on Saturday and then going on to secure pole position 0.156 seconds clear of 2009 winner Valtteri Bottas.
Rain before the start of the race caused a potential headache for the drivers and teams regarding tyre choice but Sims made the right call by opting to run slicks on his Mercedes-powered car.
Due to the drizzle at the start officials chose to start the race behind the safety car and with the track initially benefiting those on wet-weather tyres, Sims and team-mate Bottas were put under pressure by Roberto Merhi who went through to the lead.
Daniel Juncadella then got ahead of the ART Grand Prix cars but as he passed Sims, it forced the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner wide and allowed Bottas to go by as well. Quickly making amends as the track dried, Sims passed Merhi and Juncadella but couldn’t quite catch Bottas. Disappointed not to have taken victory, he was nonetheless happy to be on the podium.
“I’m pretty disappointed with the outcome but the weekend as a whole wasn’t too bad,” said Sims.
“All day on Saturday was very good for us. We were fast in the practice and in both qualifying sessions we managed to be quickest. That was particularly pleasing as we have struggled a bit with qualifying this year. This weekend we turned that around.
“For the race, the first few of us started on slicks but I lost out to Merhi and Juncadella when they came through on the wets – Juncadella pushing me wide and allowing Bottas through. Looking back, perhaps I was a little bit too cautious on the slicks. The major positive to take away with us is regarding our qualifying performance. We need to transfer that to the F3 Euroseries now.”
Next on the agenda for Sims will be the resumption of his 2010 Formula 3 Euroseries title bid, rounds seven and eight, which will take place at the Norisring in Germany on July 3 and 4. Heading into the event, Sims is joint fourth in the championship standings.
RUNNER-UP: Alexander Sims (left) on the podium in Holland.