Padmore triumphs in final race of FIA Masters Historic Formula One season at Estoril

Nick Padmore (Shadow DN5) took the spoils in the final FIA Masters Historic Formula One race of the season at Estoril after a race-long dice with team mate Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) that thrilled the Portuguese crowd.

“That was great fun”, said Padmore on swapping places with Smith-Hilliard three times. “The crowd wanted to see a good race, and I hope we put on a good show.”

Much to his delight, Max Smith-Hilliard became the new pre-78 champion by taking second place.

“I have better drivers behind me in the championship”, said a magnanimous Smith-Hilliard, “but we’ve had the reliability. I think it was 50/50 with Greg Thornton on wins, and it would have been great if he had been here instead of at Austin.”

The Forza Motorsport pair was followed home by Martin Bullock’s Williams FW07. The Australian kept Smith-Hilliard honest in the opening stages and only at the end began to lose ground. The race was red-flagged with 2.53 minutes still on the clock when Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179 stopped in a dangerous position on the track.

“My race was OK”, said Bullock. “I was pressured early on by the McLaren [of Joaquin Folch] and then couldn’t catch those two guys in front. It’s a shame we didn’t get to the chequered flag so we could wave to the marshals and the crowd. There are really lots of people here!”

A fight for fourth place between Joaquin Folch’s McLaren M19C and Jason Wright’s Shadow DN8 ended in contact on lap 7, when the five leading cars were still split by a mere four seconds. Folch was able to continue and finished a distant fourth but Wright was forced to retire his car on the next lap.

Despite his problem, Tattersall was still classified fifth on countback, ahead of Michel Baudoin’s Hesketh 308 and Philippe Bonny’s Trojan T103.