FIA F3: fourth Top-20 for Floersch in Silverstone race 2
Following Saturday's impressive comeback through the field, Sophia Floersch was set to top her best series result but dropped down in the final stages, still claiming her fourth top-20 of the season in a thrilling FIA F3 race.
It's raceday for the second weekend in a row at Silverstone, with F1 holding its first ever GP not named after a geographical location - the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
The circuit that hosted the first Formula 1 race as part of a World Championship in 1950 was the stage on Sunday morning of the FIA Formula 3 sprint race as well, which turned out to be a real modern classic.
Under cloudy skies and cooler temperatures compared to the feature race, series newcomer Ben Barnicoat started from reverse grid pole following his tenth place finish in Saturday's race, won by the new championship leader Logan Sargeant.
German racer Sophia Floersch, racing for team Campos, finally had a clean race without technical issues or incidents and was able to gain an impressive nine places from her 29th starting position. The 19-year old lady had in fact suffered from braking issues in Friday's qualifying session, which effectively provented her from setting any competitive laptimes.
Her charge to 20th place in race 1 was an encouraging result for the last Silverstone race, as Floersch took the start from a more promising tenth row.
Drivers, though, found themselves facing a new challenge in bringing the Pirelli tyres up to temperature without compromising their working life.
As the lights went out, Carlin's Barnicoat had a slow getaway and dropped to fourth, while Lirim Zendeli sprinted towards turn one into the lead. Further back, Lukas Dunner and Calan Williams collided and went off, triggering the Safety Car soon after.
The green flag was back out on lap 6 and Zendeli managed to break away from MP Motorsport's Bent Viscaal after setting the fastest lap.
In the opening laps, Campos teammates Alex Peroni and Alessio Deledda also had separate troubles and saw both their races compromised.
Among the championship contenders, Prema teammates Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant both had an unfortunate Sunday at Silverstone: the Australian, who had led the standings prior to yesterday's race, lamented technical issues both in practice and qualifying. He then saw his weekend going from bad to worse when he made contact with Red Bull protegé Liam Lawson and went off the track, dropping to eighth. Lawson, on the other hand, was luckier and continued his pursuit of fourth placed Trident's David Beckmann.
Floersch was set for another charging race, as she made up position after position up until P14. Pace-wise, a point-paying finish did not look unachievable for the young German.
At the mid-race mark, Sargeant also had a collision, but it was terminal damage for his Prema car: Sargeant, fighting with compatriot Cameron Das, crashed at Copse and was forced to retire soon after.
Ahead, Zendeli and Viscaal had signed off and could enjoy a 7 seconds gap over Theo Pourchaire, after the Frenchman had gained third place following a technical issue that halted the Carlin car of Ben Barnicoat and brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
After the VSC, Floersch started to drop down the classify assumably due to the Pirelli tyres high degradation.
Viscaal remained for most of the race in close proximity and DRS range of Zendeli, but the German looked comfortably in control. The Dutchman, though, had reserved his final push for the last lap - which turned out to be a thriller: Viscaal found a way past the Trident at Copse, but Zendeli, who had led the whole race, fought back at Stowe, as the top-two extended their battle all the way through Vale corner. Zendeli, holding favourable line for Club, looked again set to claim his first win of the season, but Viscaal switched back and crossed the finish line ahead by just over a tenth of a second - becoming the eighth different winner in 10 races.
Behind them, Lawson was also engaged in a tight battle for third with Pourchaire, but the New Zealander ran wide and dropped to fifth, allowing Beckmann to advance to P4. Piastri was sixth and preceded yesterday's podium finisher Jake Hughes and Frederick Vesti.
18th before the final lap, Sophia Floersch was P19 across the finish line, in what was nonetheless a solid performance to claim her fourth top-20 of the season.
Despite today's retirement, Sargeant holds on to the points leadership by just one point over teammate Piastri, with team Prema enjoying a significant margin in the team's standings.
The FIA Formula 3 championship will return to action in just a week time, as the F1 paddock moves to Barcelona for the Spanish GP. A circuit that Floersch knows well, having raced in the Formula Regional European Championship last year, where she finished P8, P9 and P5 at the Catalan venue.