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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Ella Lloyd claims maiden British F4 podium finish

Only in her first year of single seater competition, Ella Lloyd scored a maiden podium result in the British F4 Championship at Silverstone, in a weekend where the JHR Developments driver finished all three races inside the top-10.

Ella Lloyd, JHR Developments, British F4, 2024 Silverstone
Photo credits: JEP/DomGibbons

Ella Lloyd scored a fantastic podium result in the British F4 Championship at Silverstone, in a weekend where the JHR Developments driver finished all three races inside the top-10. Ella showed good speed in wet weather testing, before qualifying in 12th position which gave her reverse grid pole.

Making excellent starts in races one and three, Ella finished fifth and seventh respectively to achieve points scoring results. Lloyd was successful able to convert her race two pole position into her maiden podium, finishing the race in second position.

Ella’s debut season in the British F4 Championship has been full of promise with the JHR Developments driver scoring points in over half of the races completed prior to Silverstone. Lloyd’s race starts have been a particular highlight as she has regularly made significant progress in the early exchanges of the twenty-minute contests. Having scored points in three of the four opening races of each weekend, her qualifying performances have equally put her in contention to race with her more experienced rivals.

The drivers were given two free practice sessions at Silverstone ahead of the three races, with the first session held in wet conditions. Lloyd showed excellent pace throughout and this saw her set the seventh fastest time, while being the fastest driver from the JHR Developments camp. The second session was equally encouraging and more wet running saw Lloyd finish Friday testing in 16th position, with the margins closer than those in the first session.

Qualifying took place on Saturday morning with difficult conditions for the young racers. Overnight rain had fallen at Silverstone and although it had stopped prior to the session getting underway, ambient temperatures were low and the track remained damp.

Nonetheless, Ella left the pits on the slick tyres which proved to be the correct call as the session progressed. Setting her fastest time on the penultimate lap of the session, Lloyd qualified 12th which secured her reverse grid pole for the second race of the weekend.

Conditions were predominantly dry for race one of the weekend, with all drivers on slick drivers and just a couple of damp patches away from the racing line. Courtesy of her second fastest time in qualifying, together with two rivals starting from the pit lane, Lloyd lined up from tenth position and made a trademark start to gain five positions on lap one. Now running in fifth, the safety car was brought out after the opening lap as Jack Sherwood was beached in the gravel.

As the racing got back underway, Ella was defending from Yuanpu Cui and made a confident restart to keep the Chinese racer behind her. On lap five, Cui fell back into the clutches of Lloyd’s JHR Developments teammate Leo Robinson and this gave the Welsh racer some breathing space. As she held down a top-5 position, some light drizzle started to fall which made the opening sector slightly treacherous. Setting consistent lap times to the checkered flag, it was a fantastic opening race for Ella who claimed her best result to date in British F4 by finishing in fifth.

“I had a really good start to race one, passed three or four cars before the first corner, and made it to fifth when the Safety Car came out", she summed up. "I held my position after the restart, even though it was difficult because the rain came, but I kept pushing and kept the place."

Race two of the weekend featured a top-12 reverse grid and this put Ella on pole position. Looking to capitalise on this position in dry conditions, Lloyd made a good start and dropped in behind teammate Leo Robinson as the drivers entered Copse corner. The remainder of the first lap was challenging for Ella as she dropped down to sixth position before the safety car was deployed for a multi-car incident.

Four cars required retrieving from the gravel trap and this took a significant period of the race, leading to just three laps of green flag racing remaining. This made progress difficult in the closing stages, with Lloyd aiming to achieve her second top-5 finish of the weekend. Just running out of time to make a move, Ella took the checkered flag in sixth position but was later promoted to second with a number of drivers ahead penalised for overtaking under safety car conditions.

Therefore, it was a brilliant maiden podium for Ella who has made significant progress to challenge the frontrunning drivers across the season.

“My start to race two was good, just not as good as Leo’s, so he got me off the line", Lloyd recalled. "I was sitting P2, and a car pushed me wide over the kerb, which helped two more cars get past, and at least one more passed me under the Safety Car. Once we went racing, because of there being so many high-speed corners, you lose the front because of the downforce. I was quicker than the cars ahead, but just didn’t have any opportunities to overtake."

The final race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon with the grid set by the driver’s fastest times from qualifying. Due to a grid penalty for a driver ahead, Ella lined up 11th and made another excellent start to gain four positions on the first lap.

Once again, the safety car was deployed to neutralise the race as the cars of James Higgins and Kai Daryanani required recovering. As the racing got back underway, Lloyd defended well from Zack Scoular and this saw the Xcel Motorsport racer receive pressure from the drivers behind.

By lap six Ella was faster than those ahead of her as they continued to battle for top-5 positions, bringing the JHR Developments driver into the fight. Lloyd’s lap times remained strong and she was holding her position well in a competitive field of racers who were all fighting for points paying positions.

Holding her position to the line, Ella’s seventh place result saw her score points in every race of the weekend, while securing her largest haul of points in a single British F4 Championship weekend to date.

"I didn’t have a bad start to race three", she commented. "In the first few laps I could see the cars battling in front, so I made the most of the opportunities that were given to me. After the Safety Car it was like a train again, as you lose speed in the high-speed corners, but my race pace was decent.”

Silverstone was an excellent event for Ella who left the meeting as one of only five drivers to finish every race inside the top-10. Scoring her first podium in the championship was a significant achievement for the JHR Developments racer who is only in her first year of single seater competition.

Now inside the top-10 of the overall standings, Lloyd will be looking to a trip overseas when the British F4 Championship returns to Circuit Zandvoort on the weekend of 13th/14th July.



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