Felipe Nasr: 2011 British F3 Champion

Aspiring Formula One racer Felipe Nasr sealed the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series title with six races to spare at Rockingham , Sunday, 4th September, to etch his name into the history books alongside those of fellow Brazilian winners such as Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.The South American star, who celebrated his 19th birthday during the break since the previous event at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, is actually the 12th driver from Brazil to claim the coveted prize which is regarded across the globe as one of the most prestigious championships in motorsport.Having proven his ability, skill and sheer speed with a series of remarkable performances right from the beginning of the season, the Dallara-Volkswagen driver has truly been the class of the British F3 field in 2011 and sealed the title today with his 15th and 16th podiums of the campaign."It's a unique feeling for sure", said the new champion, "It really is amazing, I don't think I quite understand what it all means yet! There has been a lot of hard work behind this, taking the title so early shows we worked harder than the others and we deserve it - everyone from the team, my family and everyone that has helped us. I'm really, really happy."The history behind his championship victory is something of great importance to Felipe with so many of his countrymen having gone on to establish hugely successful careers off the back of F3 title glory.As the 12th Brazilian to win the British F3 crown, the teenager follows in the wheeltracks of the likes of Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello and, of course, the late, great Ayrton Senna. In addition, he is also the fourth Carlin driver in a row to claim the title - two of the last three, Jaime Alguersuari and Daniel Ricciardo, having already progressed to Formula One of course.Although he could be forgiven for calling time on the season now the title is in the bag, Felipe is intent on adding to his current tally of seven victories for the year during the final two events of the season at Donington Park in the East Midlands and Silverstone in Northamptonshire."It's great to put my name with the others from Brazil", he added, "That is a really special feeling and it means a lot to me and is big for my career too. We've won the championship but we're still going to do the next races - we want more wins so that's what I'm going out there to do."Unsurprisingly, Felipe started the weekend strongly and in qualifying he secured front-row starts for rounds 22 and 24 - the grid for round 23 being set by the finishing order of the opening encounter, albeit with the top runners reversed.Saturday afternoon's race looked like providing a guaranteed victory for Felipe but a dominant run was curtailed when officials adjudged him to have transgressed track limits at turn eight. Resulting in a very unfortunate drive-through penalty, and robbing him of the deserved win, the Carlin racer still finished a highly creditable sixth - with the fastest race lap of 1m13.322 seconds (95.25mph).In this morning's wet sprint race, round 23, Felipe produced a great drive from third on the grid and after moving into second early on he hoped to challenge for the win. Posting the fastest lap again, all looked good but a slow right-rear puncture meant he had to settle for the runner-up spot.Knowing the title could be clinched with a strong performance in round 24, the Brasilia-born driver produced a typically good drive in similar conditions to the earlier rain-affected encounter - a race which was punctuated by the intervention of the Safety Car on two occasions.Although holding second position for over half the distance, running slightly wide at Deene Hairpin on lap 14 cost Felipe the place but thereafter he settled for third and yet another podium to claim the title triumph in style.Next on the agenda for Felipe is the penultimate event of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, rounds 25, 26 and 27, which will take place at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in the East Midlands over the weekend 24th/25th September.Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd24):CHAMPION - Felipe Nasr, 297pts