Padmore takes fifth victory in a row
The FIA Masters Historic Formula One cars broke the silence on Silverstone’s hallowed tarmac just after lunch, with 29 competitors lining up, headed by quadruple winner Nick Padmore in the Williams belonging to Max Smith-Hilliard, next to Greg Thornton’s Lotus on the front row, with last year’s winner Martin Stretton in third, just in front of Ollie Hancock.
A rolling start produced a four-abreast contest at Abbey as Ollie Hancock swept the Fittipaldi around the outside of Nick Padmore to take the lead, followed by Stretton and the demon-starting Loic Deman, coming through from 7th on the grid. Padmore wasted no time in taking the lead back at Brooklands, and at the end of the first lap he led from Hancock, Deman and Greg Thornton.
Ollie Hancock would have been glad to see the chequered flag at this point though, since he was passed aggressively by Deman, then Thornton and Stretton on lap two, as Padmore asserted himself into a five second lead. Behind, Deman was taking Greg Thornton with him in pursuit of the leader as D’Ansembourg and Steve Hartley both passed Hancock, resuming their great battle for fifth.
Deman set fastest lap on lap 5 to close the lead gap to 3 seconds with Greg Thornton hanging on, less than a second behind. The lead gap ebbed and flowed with traffic but Thornton and Deman kept it fair in their pursuit. Meanwhile Ollie Hancock’s fall from grace continued as he was passed by Rob Hall (up from 11th) and Mike Wrigley.
On lap 6, Steve Hartley grabbed fifth from D’Ansembourg’s Williams but promptly slowed and pulled off the track, leaving D’Ansembourg in a lonely fifth behind Martin Stretton. The lead gap was still anywhere between 2.5 and 4 seconds with Nick Padmore doing his best to manage the gap to his pursuers, as Simon Fish pitted and retired the Ensign from ninth place on lap 9.
Martin Stretton made a surprise pit call on lap 10, handing fourth to D’Ansembourg but as the race neared its final laps, a number of spun cars brought out yellow flags which helped to maintain the order and the gaps.
With one lap to go, Philip Hall passed Bill Coombs for third in Fittipaldi class, behind Derek Jones’s Hesketh in 10th overall. Padmore’s lead was safe at 6 seconds but Greg Thornton pirouetted spectacularly on the way out of Abbey in his pursuit of Deman, rejoining and losing only 2.8 seconds, but not his third place.
At the chequered flag, Nick Padmore took his fifth victory in a row from Loic Deman (who took fastest lap) and the dizzy Greg Thornton, with D’Ansembourg fourth and Mike Wrigley taking fifth from Rob Hall in the final few corners. Ollie Hancock held on in 7th to win the Fittipaldi class, in front of Mike Cantillon’s Tyrrell in the Invitation class. John Delane’s Tyrrell took the Stewart class win.