Stretton beats Padmore to win in second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race

Martin Stretton reversed the order of Saturday’s FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands Hatch by beating Nick Padmore to the win on Sunday.

From seventh on the grid, the Tyrrell 012 driver brilliantly worked his way forward to lead on lap 2 while Padmore needed until lap 4 to be second. Initially, Padmore made inroads into Stretton’s advantage, setting three consecutive fastest laps of the race and trimming the gap from 4 to 1.7 seconds. However, Stretton answered back and increased his lead back to 2.2 seconds before a safety car ended their battle. The race finished under the safety car.

I had a couple of lucky breaks”, said Stretton of his stunning opening lap, “the guys in front were very kind to me. I saw Nick looming, he always drives very well – but then the safety car came out.

“It’s that annoying gap all the time”, said Padmore about those two seconds between himself and Stretton. “I was a bit too patient with the backmarkers, I think – but who cares? I had a terrific time!”

Having started from ‘reverse’ pole, Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) won the pre-78 class ahead of Greg Thornton (Lotus 77) and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8). The Fittipaldi driver ran third after being passed by Stretton and Padmore, and was initially chased by Steve Brooks (Lotus 81). On lap 5, Thornton passed his team mate to hound his class rival, but a failed lunge at Smith-Hilliard saw him drop behind Simon Fish’s Ensign N180. On lap 12, Fish eventually demoted Smith-Hilliard to fourth.

“They were orders from Nick!” Smith-Hilliard quipped about leading the class from the front. “There were always two or three cars between me and Greg, and then when he came through I saw him spin in my mirrors, so I was actually surprised that he reappeared!”

I had instructions to stay with Max, hoping that he would make a mistake”, said Thornton, “but he didn’t. Max drove brilliantly.

“I was stuck there”, said Fish about fighting the top pre-78 cars. “They are difficult to overtake as they are quick in a straight line, having a little less downforce, but in the end I did it.”

On the same lap, Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) had his eyes on Thornton’s fifth place. The pair made contact at Druids, resulting in the safety car being dispatched. Thornton dropped to seventh behind Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) and Brooks while Cantillon’s Williams remained stuck in the gravel. Hartley, meanwhile, drove a storming race from the back to claim an excellent fifth place.

The field circulated behind the safety car until the finish five laps later.