As we reached the half way point of the season, it would be time for Invictus to ‘come home’ as the league made its regular appearance at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Britain is one of only two countries which has hosted a Formula One Grand Prix since its inception in 1950, and whilst Brands Hatch, Aintree and Donnington have all hosted the race, it is the famous former World War airfield Silverstone which has played host to the race since 1987.
Silverstone is one of the most popular circuits on the race calendar for both drivers and viewers and offers up some high-octane entertainment across its challenging but fast track. The much emulated but never duplicated complex of Maggotts and Becketts always keep the cars on the edge of grip limitation, but with the right line and equal bravery it’ll fire you down the long Hangar Straight.
This would be round six of the Invictus Racing League F1 2018 season one, and across the six races over the week there was much to be battled for as drivers looked to go into the season break on top of their respective leagues.
Speed_Queen80 had finally overcome her dry spell from the podium in an emphatic way as she took the win in Italy one week previously. The problem would be maintaining that good form as the league headed to Britain, but with Humbostone and BoyBetterKnow (Scott) on the grid for company, it was far from a foregone conclusion.
Qualifying saw a slightly overcast day in the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire split circuit, and with the soft, medium and hard tyre compounds available for use in the session, it would be a real battle to see who could get most out of the harder compounded rubber.
The soft compound was the tyre of choice for the majority of the field, and Delange93 was the driver who utilised it to its optimum as he placed his Haas on pole position for the race. The Dutch driver set his best lap with over six minutes remaining in the session but the rest of the field were unable to beat his time with Tony-Y the closest in the Ferrari, as the manufacture engine couldn’t get the extra tenth to beat the Ferrari customer engined manufactured Haas.
Speed_Queen and Nikki9095 made it an all Force India second row, with previous race winners Scott and SJD on row three.
Malc in the Mercedes was the only driver on track to set a flying lap on the medium tyre, he would line up in eighth place but with a different strategy in mind versus the rest of the field.
The start saw everything! As the cars felt like they were left for an eternity the five red lights were finally switched off. Perhaps the delay hindered the field as it was a nightmare for pole-sitter Delange who spun the rear tyres and was slow off the line.
He was swarmed by the Force India’s into turn one but contact saw fourth placed Nikki spear off the track and luckily just out of harms way of the unforgiving armco barrier.
The chaos at the start saw an unlikely challenger for the lead in Scott who had made his way from fifth into second as his Toro Rosso and the Ferrari of Tony went side-by-side into the loop section.
Speed_Queen had also suffered a poor start after being tangled up with Nikki and by the end of the first sector was well down the order in seventh, whilst Humbostone was the man who had benefited from this all as he made a lightning start from a seventh place start into third.
The lead changed on lap two as Scott made the move on Tony into Brooklands and immediately started building a lead over the Ferrari.
Speed_Queen and Joel had been having a superb battle over the opening laps, the McLaren of Joel was doing everything to hold back SQ who was desperate to recover lost ground and she finally looked to have made the move into the loop section on lap five.
However, unaware that the McLaren was still on her outside, she collected the front right wheel of Joel’s car and her Force India as like Nikki’s on lap one was sent pointing in the wrong direction.
Renner9 had been making moves in the Mercedes and found himself in third position after opportunistic moves on Delange and Humbostone. He was aware that Scott and Tony were currently fighting over the lead and knew he would start catching them lap-by-lap if he continued his current pace.
Malc had driven a quiet race in the Mercedes after starting to the medium compound, leading the race on lap 15 after being promoted due to strategy made his stop and came out on the yellow walled soft tyres.
He would proceed to set the track alight, the British driver would over-take Humbostone and Renner9 in consecutive laps and with six laps remaining he would become a real threat to the leaders.
Tony would be next to relinquish a position to Malc who used a mistake from the Ferrari driver to get the move down into second through Brooklands.
Although leading the race, Scott had an impending three-second time penalty due to add-on to his race time and with Malc closing in behind and unaware of his opponents penalty, the two would battle over the final two laps. The charge would not be enough to get the victory on track as the cars crossed the line fractionally apart.
The time penalty to Scott was administered and with none to Malc it meant it was a first win for the Mercedes driver and jubilation in front of the British crowd. Malc had endured a tough season and the victory was well deserved after a superb strategy call from the Brackley teams pit-wall.
Scott would pick up second with Tony-Y coming in third, Humbostone and Speed_Queen would round out the top five whilst a late collision between Renner9 and Nikki9095 would demote the second Mercedes of Renner from fourth to eighth.
A second place finish would see Scott take the lead of the championship into the season break ahead of Scopefielder, Humbostone and Speed_Queen. However, it is very much all still to play for once we re-engage in Germany.
The fight for supremacy with Performance 1 was in full swing with Skyzii, SirSpud and LMC_Boogster all within striking distance of each other, but with four winners from four races so far, it would only prove how unpredictable this league can be.
Qualifying saw a number of cars use the harder medium tyres to set their fastest time. AaronJSpence, Fascone and championship challenger spud would all start outside of the top ten and have prime tyre choice come the race.
The pole time was set by Haas driver Tony-Y, who fresh after his front row start and podium in the previous days race would take to the top of the standings by two tenths of a second ahead of mj_coop in the Force India.
Skyzii would also qualify on the medium and finish tenth, whilst debutantes Apiradical and The-Warislander would line up alongside each other on the fourth row.
It was a great lap from Scottish driver Tony-Y, but mj_coop would certainly have an eye on his second race victory of the season.
ColinJ had started the F3 season very well as he looked to transfer that pace across to Tuesday nights and with a fifth place in Italy in his first performance race could not be counted out come the chequered flag.
As the lights went out a great start from coop saw him up and past Tony as the cars entered the first complex of corners. Skyzii was the only driver on the mediums who made moves off the line as he used a good start to rocket past Warislander and Tejuarr before the cars reached Brooklands and Luffield, only for Tej to cheekily scythe back past after Copse corner.
Then on lap two, Disaster! On the exit of Copse, the pole-sitter Tony-Y lost control of the car as it hit the inside wall with a sickening thud, his Haas was sent flying back onto the track surface where it was collected in scary fashion by the McLaren of Apiradical.
The two would emerge unhurt from the cars in an extraordinary feat of engineering, the grid was placed under the virtual safety car, which whilst the carnage was recovered giving the grid a brief rest-bite to what had been an explosive opening duo of laps.
As the cars regained speed in the green flag period, it was the Red Bull of Tejuarr who seemed to relish the early laps as he launched down the inside of ColinJ into Stowe and move into fourth place.
Lap 12 saw the last of the soft compound starters make their pit-stop as mj_coop and Megglugpy battled out for the race lead eventually mirrored each other into the pit-lane, this allowed Skyzii and Fascone to briefly move up into first and second, whilst AaronJ ad Spud battled between themselves for then third position.
After their stops Skyzii and ColinJ found themselves battling in seventh and eighth and for two sector were side-by-side, but as they rounded the final corner the two came together and it was the unfortunate Skyzii who came off worse as his Williams spun into the wall breaking his front wing and effectively ending his challenge for the race victory.
The laps were counting down and it was Megglugpy who wrestled the race lead away from mj_coop. The two stayed firmly together on track but were joined by SJD1988, and with three laps to go the viewers were treated to a three car battle for the victory.
It wasn’t to be for the trailing cars however, as Megglugpy picked up his first victory of the season in the Renault car. Mj_coop would follow him through for second and SJD would finish a second behind in third.
A good result for Tejuarr saw him come home in fourth, whilst the drivers that ran the mediums first could not quite get the pace required to keep up and Fascone could only manage fifth.
It was a fantastic race for Megg as he moved up from sixth onto the top of the rostrum by the race end, but with another race winner once again, it keeps the title picture wide open as we enter the season break.
Spud would bemoan a poor race and only pick up three points for eighth and with Skyzii no-scoring due to the earlier incident. The field is well and truly ready to due battle once again for the final six rounds.
As in Performance 1, there was no clear leader as the league came to Britain for its latest round of the Performance 2 championship. Drivers such as Scopefielder, Delange and Jos_Heinssie had all staked a claim to be the championship favourite but no-one was taking any bets yet.
However, it was Sauber driver MrStim96 who would claim pole by almost three tenths of a second. He set a superb lap in the under-powered manufacture that would beat Delange93 and KaW_TactiicZz into second and third respectively.
Reigning champion WaveIntel has picked up solid points so far this season but was yet to stand on the top step of the podium, and he could only manage fourth in the sister Sauber. Whilst a poor session from Captain_Stiff and Sab would see them both starting at the back of the grid on row six.
Stim would get a dream release off the line and lead into Abbey, KaW would jump Delange into second but further back it was a wayward Nitrogash that would cause a problem for the rest of the field.
After joining wide at Abbey, Nitro struggled with under-steer throughout the first sector and into the loop he would slide into the direction of the pack as they streamed by, and it was the unfortunate NickLJThomson and BWAClyde who would come off worse with both suffering front aero damage and setting them both back for the remainder of the race.
Delange would eventually move back past KaW as the two became separated, Delange would spend the following laps cruising up to Stim and on lap six made the move for the lead of the race.
The two would stay in tandem throughout the pit-window, and whilst Delange would make it out ahead of traffic, Stim would shuffle into the pack behind Stiff and Nitro, making a clumsy move on Stiff into Village that would cost both drivers time as he looked to stay with Delange.
Eventually moving past the Renault and Mercedes, Stim would move back into second and the two would once again battle over the race lead as the lap counter ticked over to lap 12.
The race would neutralise over the following laps as minor moves around the grid such as NickLJ overtook Clyde for tenth, as both fought for the final point after the first lap incident with Nitrogash.
Three laps remained and Delange held a comfortable three-second advantage over Stim, while behind it was a battle for third as WaveIntel had closed up to KaW and was pressuring the Renault as they moved into the final lap.
Delange would ultimately hang on for victory at Silverstone as the Dutch driver recorded his first win of the season, MrStim would have to accept second and the fastest lap of the race.
KaW_TacticZz would hold onto third ahead of WaveIntel to round off the podium, while the biggest mover on track was the Red Bull of Sab7786, he would see a twelfth place start result in a seventh place end.
The first half of the season wraps up for Performance 2 with another different race winner and sees WaveIntel head up the title picture with Jos, Delange and Scopefielder close behind.
The shock retirement from championship leader Sambamkid in Italy one week ago seemed to have provided the catalyst for change within the F1 league.
Having dominated the first half of the season with three wins and a second place, Sam faced his first retirement in a while for Invictus, this allowed debutante Kardanov23 to take the win and automatically insert himself into the conversation for a late season charge up the table.
As in Monza, Sam was pushed from a front row start with Kardanov taking a second consecutive pole position. He would be joined on the first row by Aleskiller150. On row two, Sam would have the fast starting Speed_Queen80 alongside him for company.
Last weeks runner-up Jakeeboy98 unfortunately did not fair as well this week as he could only manage 12th in qualifying before an incident during race would see him retire early.
A scrappy race for Sam would see him drop down and eventually come home in fifth position with both Speed_Queen and mdoran09 the beneficiaries.
However, the race was once again dominated end to end by Kardanov23. The driver in his second race for Invictus F1 has taken a maximum 24 points from his two races and added two pole positions.
Speed_Queen would come home second in her best race to date this season, and mdoran07 would finally be back on the podium after a rough start to the season.
Sam would still come away leading the title but after six points over two races, his perch at the top of the standings seemed to be for the first time this season looking like it could be under threat if Kardanov could keep up this pace.
The two would meet again in Germany in two weeks, this would give Sam the chance to go one on one with his new rival for the F1 title.
The majority of the field is certainly starting to play catch up with Betrayer46 as we enter the mid-point of the season, only Humbostone has been able to keep tabs with the Red Bull driver. The two entered round six of the F2 season separated by one point and with a good chance of extending their advantage over their nearest rivals.
Betrayer was without a win since the opening race of the season in Australia, whilst it was RickWR88 who had taken the last two race victories in France and Italy, and the Canadian racer looked to continue his good form coming into Silverstone.
Pole would be sought after in what is a very competitive field, although the league see’s two drivers in the lead of the standings, we have been treated to four winners in five races. The grid would peel out on circuit knowing that they were in for a real fight to be the first one into Abbey on lap one.
It was young Scottish driver WaveIntel who would claim pole for the race after a strong performance in qualifying. He edged out RickWR, who once again showed great pace in his third week back into competitive action.
WaveIntel would then go on to take the race win, after a hard fought battle with Betrayer46 and Humbostone who came in second and third respectively. He managed to keep the Red Bull behind, as last seasons enthralling battle between WaveIntel and Betrayer seemed to re-engage once again.
The podium finishers would enter the season break on a high knowing that they were starting to break away from the rest of the field. WaveIntel has taken 22 from a possible 24 points over the last two races and it has inserted him back into the title picture as we look forward to round seven.
Betrayer maintains the lead in the F2 standings, he will be delighted with his performance over the first six rounds, but it is not time to get lackadaisical if he wants to make it two successive driver’s crowns in equal performance.
The pressure is now on to continue what is going to be a fascinating season.
The F3 championship has really started to heat up as we reach the mid-point of the season, and with a number of cars on the grid capable of taking the victory, the race for pole and the win would be a must-watch.
Craig led the championship, but with minimal points back the rest of the field, he would be hard pushed to make it a third consecutive win.
Qualifying began at Silverstone, but with the threat of rain in the air as the session climaxed, it would be about getting laps in early for the best track conditions that would influence the final standings.
Pole would be set with around one minute remaining! Alga in the Haas sat at the top of the board, but a late decision not to set a further lap time meant his team-mate ColinJ was able to use a brilliant lap to drop his counter-part off of provisional pole as the two American owned cars would lock out the front row of the British Grand Prix.
Points leader Craig would only manage a third place finish in the Ferrari, whilst he was joined on row two by fast-starting JamieMet92.
There was late controversy in the Toro Rosso garage as Fascone found himself in what looked like very harsh trouble with the stewards after the Irishman was run into in the pit-lane entry by the Sauber of Bren_Ons. The stewards deemed it the fault of the Toro Rosso for driving excessively slowly, and he would be given a five place grid-penalty that would demote him from eighth to thirteenth.
As Tejuarr made up the final place on the grid, the lights would work up to five and extinguish sending thousands of turbo-hybrid horsepower down towards Abbey for the first time.
Alga made the jump on Colin into turn one but the cameras attention was caught by the Mercedes of Notorious sliding spectacularly wide after contact, the Irish driver was incensed under the helmet after his best qualifying result was nullified to being at the bottom of the order and by the end of the first lap almost 30 seconds off the lead.
As the race progressed, the undercut would work wonders for ColinJ as he utilised his fresh rubber to move back past team-mate Alga and back into the lead of the race. Alga would also find himself behind JamieMet who was once again impressing in F3, the Red Bull sat under three seconds from the race leader and meant that Colin would not be able to have a moment to think as he looked at taking his first race win of the season.
The race would enter its final stages and it seemed as ColinJ would have enough to hold off the charging Red Bull behind but with five laps left to go there was always a chance for Jamie to capitalise on a mistake.
Down the order and Craig was holding on in fourth position, with Force India of Booje in a solid fifth but with an eye on the Ferrari ahead.
The race reached its crescendo with Colin maintaining the lead of the race ahead of Jamie. However, with only two laps remaining, the battle for the lead was between both Haas cars and the Red Bull split by less than a second!
Jamie would make a move for the lead of the race into Stowe on lap 24 and immediately use his two lap fresher tyres to stretch a gap over the two Haas cars. Alga wet on to pass Colin but a final lap distaster for the Italian driver saw him lose control at Abbey and it the wall, ending his race with less than one tour of the famous circuit left.
Jamie would cross the line to win the F3 British Grand Prix ahead of ColinJ and a delighted Booje89, the Force India passed Craig in the dying laps and with Alga’s retirement saw himself take an unlikely podium.
Craig would drop down behind F1Richard, who once again had a superb race but drivers such as SirSpud and Captain_Stiff would rue poor race as they only came home in ninth and eleventh respectively.
Jamie once again picked up some great points and adds another 12 points to his growing tally. having only joined the league in round three he has already put himself well into the campionship challenge for the second half of the season.
It looks like Craig, Colin and Jamie could all be in a good position for the next six races, but will we see a resurgence from Spud, Tej or even F1Richard who seems to be picking up steam.
F3 goes into the season break with the title picture wide open!