Padmore takes ninth season win in FIA Masters Historic Formula One

Nick Padmore led from lights to flag to claim his ninth victory of the season in the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Zandvoort. From pole, the Williams FW07C driver controlled a lead between two and three seconds to keep Christophe d’Ansembourg in a similar FW07C at bay. The Belgian had to fend off the close attentions of Greg Thornton’s Lotus 91 for the entire race. Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E) recovered from a pitlane start to still claim pre-77 glory, beating Max Smith-Hilliard (Surtees TS9B) and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8).

The championship leader described his win as “nice and clean”, having had a good start from pole. In three laps, he pulled out a gap of two seconds, which went up and down according to traffic, and controlled that to the end.

“Brilliant, loved it”, Padmore said, well satisfied with his win. “As soon as I had a two-second lead I just held it, which means the tyres are still good for tomorrow. I really had to be careful with traffic, but this is a great circuit, it’s so busy with the crowds lining the track all the way.”

In second and third place, D’Ansembourg and Thornton fought the entire 25-minute race, the Lotus almost passing the Williams at the start and then often trailing it by less than half a second.

“I wasn’t going after Nick”, said the Belgian. “I was just trying to keep Greg behind. It was only thanks to traffic that I was able to put some distance between him and me. The start was tricky! He put his car inside of me out of Tarzan and almost got past me!”

“Yes, almost!” said Thornton, “but it doesn’t matter what you almost do. The team told me that Christophe would get tired – but he didn’t!”

In fourth place and first of the Lauda class runners, Italian Stefano Di Fulvio had a lonely race in his Tyrrell 012, but behind him the battle for pre-77 honours was well on. In the end, Michael Lyons prevailed, even though he was forced to start from the pitlane, having received a penalty for passing under a red flag in Friday’s qualifying session. Having clawed his way through the field, the Hesketh 308E driver passed both Max Smith-Hilliard (Surtees TS9B) and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) for the pre-77 lead on lap 9. Smith-Hilliard easily won the Stewart class for pre-71 cars.

“The first laps were crazy”, said Lyons. “This is such a challenging track that it’s really hard for the slower cars to be aware of their surroundings. Once past those, I managed to reel in Max and Jason for the class win. Still happy with that!”

“I was never going to keep Michael behind”, Smith-Hilliard said, “but it was good to be right at the front in an older car. And I enjoyed my fight with Jason!”

Further down the field, Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012) and Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 76) entertained the crowd with a tense battle for eighth, while James Hagan – ever sideways in his Hesketh 308 – enjoyed a close fight with Tommy Dreelan’s Williams FW08 for tenth. At the line, Simmonds and Hagan prevailed.

Local hero Frits van Eerd finished 12th in his ex-Ronnie Peterson March 761.