Harald Schlegelmilch became the latest reverse grid hero in the F3 Euroseries. He started from pole having finished eighth in yesterday’s race and kept the field at bay with an excellent display of defensive driving.
Title duellists Grosjean and Buemi could do nothing to unseat the Latvian – who hadn’t even scored a point before the series arrived at the Nurburgring.
Schlegelmilch made a clean start but it was race one winner Nico Hulkenberg who had the best getaway from eighth, judiciously threading his way through the pack on the run to turn one to take fourth. He slotted in behind second placed Romain Grosjean and Sebastien Buemi.
Kamui Kobayashi clattered into Edoardo Piscopo at the NGK Schikane on the first lap, suspension and wing damage forcing both drivers to retire.
Grosjean made several attempts to pass Schlegelmilch but couldn’t find a way past. Hulkenberg was putting Buemi under similar pressure. The top eight were soon queued up with 3.5s covering Schlegelmilch, Grosjean, Buemi, Hulkenberg, Dani Clos, Yelmer Buurman, James Jakes and Renger van der Zande by lap seven.
Grosjean made another attack on Schlegelmilch on lap 13 but once again the Latvian rebuffed him. Meanwhile Hulkenberg tried to get around the outside of Buemi at the short circuit link but he too was unsuccessful.
On lap 19 Grosjean dived down the inside of Schlegelmilch at the Coca-Cola Kurve and got fully alongside the leader. But the HS Technik driver took more speed onto the main straight and stayed ahead.
There were few laps when Grosjean didn’t cross the line less than half a second behind Schlegelmilch – but the Latvian never cracked under pressure and he defended solidly but cleanly to score his first win.
Grosjean extended his title lead over third-placed Buemi by another point. Hulkenberg finished fourth and is now third in the championship ahead of Kobayashi. Clos held onto fifth ahead of Buurman who prevailed in an exciting three-way fight with Jakes and van der Zande.
Six races remain to decide the title – two each at Catalunya, Nogaro and Hockenheimring.
Photo: F3 Euroseries