Padmore dominates again to win in first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Silverstone

Nick Padmore showed dominant form to score a crushing win in the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Silverstone Classic. The Williams FW07C driver led all 11 laps, fending off Michael Lyons’ Hesketh 308E into Brooklands on the first lap before opening up a gap of 16 seconds at the finish.

“Yeah, I saw Mick was going for it into Brooklands, and I thought ‘Oooh, sh…!’”, said a jubilant Padmore. “But I kept ahead and then managed to create a gap, and that was it.”

As Padmore eeked away on the second lap, Lyons was forced to fend off the attentions of Martin Stretton’s Tyrrell 012, Stretton passing Lyons for second on lap 2. The Tyrrell hung on to its place into Stowe for the first time but on the next lap, the Hesketh used the same spot to take the place back.

It was hard to follow Nick on the first lap”, Lyons explained, “I forgot I didn’t have the downforce! At one point I went so wide, and that allowed Martin to get past. I had great fun fighting him to get second place back. It was wonderful to be back in the Hesketh, I love this car.

Stretton subsequently dropped back into the clutches of Ligier JS11 driver Matteo Ferrer. The two were nose to tail for three laps before the pair clashed at Village on lap 9, the Ligier tapping the Tyrrell around in a move that failed to materialise. The contact led to the Italian’s retirement while Stretton’s battle-stricken Tyrrell dropped down to sixth at the end of the race. Afterwards, the stewards deemed that Ferrer was to blame and scratched the Italian from the result.

The incident resulted in Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) taking third place. The Belgian had tracked the lead four cars in the opening laps, and kept the gap to Stretton and Ferrer under three seconds – which meant that he was there to profit from his rivals’ mishap.

It was good”, said d’Ansembourg about his race, “I think I did well to stay close to all the professional drivers ahead of me. There was not much I could do but I kept the pace and stayed in touch, hoping that something would happen. And it happened!

Lyons was the dominant winner of the pre-78 class but behind him the fight was on for the next spot on the podium. Greg Thornton – in a March 761 on loan from Katsu Kubota – starred by passing three cars on his way to a strong second place in class, and maximum points in the championship, Lyons as a single-race entry being ineligible for points.

Thornton first past Andrew Haddon (Hesketh 308) on lap 2 and took Mark Hazell (Williams FW07) on lap 5 before going after Henry Fletcher in another 761 and pulling off the move on lap 9. Championship-wise the result was valuable for Thornton since title rival Max Smith-Hilliard could do no better than fifth in class.

It was hard work – and that in a car on loan!”, said Thornton. “I only did one lap in qualifying yesterday but I still passed three cars. Most importantly, I took the guy I had to beat [Fletcher], and in the same car!

“The tyres went off, the car was sliding around all over the place at the end”, Fletcher explained. “I’ve had hardly any time in the car. We’ve only driven it at Imola, so I really need a proper test.”

Finishing fourth overall, Simon Fish took third place in the post-78 class, but had to work hard for it. Initially fending off Fletcher, Fish soon saw Steve Hartley’s Arrows A4 appear in his mirrors. Hartley had been the man on the move in the opening stages, passing Hazell, Steve Brooks’ Lotus 81 and Fletcher before embarking on his chase of Fish’ Ensign N180. It was all for nothing, though, as Hartley was penalised for a jump start and took his drivethrough penalty on lap 9.

“In the first laps I was pushing hard at the start to keep ahead of the Jägermeister car [of Henry Fletcher]”, said Fish, “and then I saw Steve Hartley hoving into view. He was right on me! We’ve had so many fights in the past and Steve is known for his lunges so I had to give my all.”

Matt Wrigley, moving up from Historic Formula 2 to make his F1 debut, won the pre-72 Stewart class in his March 721G, finishing 12th overall.