Jamie Chadwick continues perfect W Series campaign with British GP dominant victory
Four out of four – Jamie Chadwick continues perfect score in dominant W Series season and wins for the first time on home soil, in an action-packed British GP at Silverstone.
Two-time W Series champion continued her dominant run in the 2022 season by claiming the fourth win over four races this year – continuing a six-race winning streak in the all-female – and secured her first success on home soil at the iconic Silverstone circuit.
Chadwick led from lights to flag and won an action-packed race in the midfield, also briefly animated by a rain shower towards the final minutes. The driver of the #55 Jenner Racing Tatuus, though, was never under threat and completed another perfect weekend, having led all sessions.
On Friday afternoon, Chadwick had scored pole position beating Emma Kimilainen by two tenths of a second, after the Finn was held up on her fastest lap and had shown good speed throughout the session. 2021 runner-up Alice Powell was also looking strong – especially in the first sector of the challenging British racetrack – but had several times deleted for exceeding track limits.
Initially dropped to fifth, Powell was reinstated to third place post-session and lined up alongside her protegé Abbi Pulling. None of them, though, could displace Chadwick from pole position and the 24-year old Briton pulled away after a perfect getaway, immediately opening a gap on Emma Kimilainen and Alice Powell.
Powell, though, would have to serve a stop and go penalty following a technical issue on the grid: “Car wouldn't select gear, even with releasing the clutch and doing the procedure”, Powell commented. After having to restart the car, Powell then had to recover back her starting position before the Safety Car line and unfortunately she got by the final car just after the line.
“Sadly, the last person I had to pass floored it as I approached the first safety car line”, she continued. “Something doesn't want us having any luck this year.”
The penalty ended Powell’s chances, after she had managed to pass Kimilainen in the first laps. Having been informed of the incoming penalty, Kimilainen didn’t fight back and re-claimed her second place when Powell took the way of the pitlane.
Behind them, Abbi Pullin had a difficult getaway and was down to fifth, behind the quick Fabienne Wohlwend. After an unlucky start of the season, the driver from Liechtenstein was back where she belongs, fighting at the top of the field at the track where she scored her best W Series result last year.
Nerea Marti was the biggest mover in the opening laps: the Spaniard gained four places and moved into eleventh place after receiving a 2-place grid drop in qualifying for running a red light at the end of the pitlane.
But the midfield was the protagonist of a continuous battle, with Abbie Eaton also making up positions and attacking Jessica Hawkins and Beitske Visser. The two traded places before the Dutchwoman remained ahead, as Eaton and Hawkins continued a spectacular duel. They would also be joined by Belén Garcia, Marta Garcia and Nerea Marti.
Marta and Belén Garcia swapped places in yet another fierce battle that ended with Marta having to pit with a damaged front wing. Belén then defended from Nerea, but positions were maintained.
There was never a dull moment and the action focused on the trio ahead, with Fabienne Wohlwend coming under pressure from Abbi Pulling and Beitske Visser. Wohlwend went deep into Village corner and, despite she could save the car from a spin, she dropped to fifth behind Pulling and Visser.
WIth 14 minutes to go, there was even more drama: the impending grey clouds brought rain on most of the circuit and drivers had to be extra cautious on the slick tyres. No one opted to pit – which would reveal the correct choice, as the rain quickly eased and then disappeared.
Jamie Chadwick, meanwhile, had opened an over 7 seconds gap to Kimilainen, who then had to watch her mirrors from the return of Abbi Pulling after the young Brit set the fastest lap of the race and was visibly closing in.
With 5 minutes to go, Pulling was under the second gap and started to find a way past the PUMA driver. With one lap to go, Pulling dived on the inside of Kimilainen at Club and hit the Finnish driver, sending her into a spin.
Both continued without losing positions, but Pulling – who also picked up front wing damage – fairly gave the second place back to Kimilainen.
After a lonely race at the front, Jamie Chadwick crossed the finish line with a 20 second margin to Kimilainen and Pulling, taking her first home win in W Series.
"It feels really good to win here and that's a monkey off my back having not won a W Series race in Britain before today” – Chadwick said.
“I’m super happy with that drive. I got a bit nervy with the rain at one point but managed to maintain a good gap to the guys fighting behind me which was nice. I was really hungry coming into this weekend as this is the race all of the British drivers want to win, so it means a hell of a lot."
Kimilainen scored her first podium of the season after several unfortunate results and now moves into fourth in the standings.
"It feels like it's my lucky charm this year to be hit and spun around!” – joked Kimilainen. “Hopefully that ends at this point. I was defending my place and there was no space to come in, I couldn't see Abbi [Pulling] so I turned in because I was quite a lot ahead. I don't know if she locked a wheel, but she attacked, it happened, and then she was showing a praying motion with both hands to say sorry when we were facing each other.”
“Even though that all happened within a few seconds, it felt like forever. I hoped there was no damage and I could continue, and then I saw either she had an issue or she wanted to let me back past because she clearly thought it was her fault, so we could finish the race in those positions.”
Despite the late clash, Pulling secured her second podium of the season – and the first at the British GP, where she made her first W Series appearance one year ago, immediately securing points.
"I'm really happy to get a podium on home soil and it feels great to do it in front of a huge crowd at Silverstone” – Pulling said. “It wasn't the start I expected and I struggled off the line, but I slowly progressed through and put pressure on Emma [Kimiläinen] at the end. I felt I had the pace throughout the whole race, and it was just a case of getting past people.”
“Next time, I'll learn for qualifying and not make any mistakes there so I can start further up the grid. I'm looking forward to France next – I like the circuit at Paul Ricard and it should be a great race."
Wohlwend was able to snatch fourth from Visser in the closing laps. Visser, though, scored her third top-five this season and remains third in the championship standings.
The battle between life partners Jessica Hawkins and Abbie Eaton ended with the Bristol Street Motors racer in front; Eaton was seventh and preceded the young Spanish drivers Belén Garcia and Nerea Marti – the latter being the biggest mover with 6 places gained from her starting position.
“It has been the most difficult weekend since I’ve been in W Series but we still managed to make a good comeback” – Nerea commented. “The most important thing is that we have managed to take points for the championship. I'm going to keep working to be back in the top 3 like I was at the beginning."
Marti had to defend from the fast charging Sarah Moore in the final laps, as the Brit rounded out the point scoring positions. Moore has always finished in the top-ten this season.
Eleventh was Bruna Tomaselli, who won a really exciting and multiple-lap fight with Tereza Babickova after a stunning pass into Maggots. P12 at the chequered flag, Babickova was nevertheless the best of the rookies at Silverstone, after a very positive weekend for the Czech driver.
Chloe Chambers was P13 and finished ahead of Alice Powell, after the latter had impressively recovered over 20 seconds from the back of the pack and overtaken Academy drivers Bustamante and Noda, as well as De Heus.
Powell now sits 5th in the drivers’ standings, at 33 points.
With a perfect score so far, Chadwick reached 100 points at the fourth round, with Pulling second at 53. W Series will now head to Circuit Paul Ricard, South of France, for its mid-season point on 23rd July.