HHC Motorsport’s Will Palmer claimed his first main season F4 race win at Snetterton (Saturday), after fighting his way to the front on lap three and then stretching a lead of three seconds by the end of the race.
An extremely close qualifying session saw championship leader George Russell secure pole position, pipping Palmer by the narrowest of margins, just 0.004s, with Raoul Hyman a further 0.067s behind to take third on the grid.
Palmer made a strong start to the race to challenge Russell on the run to Riches, attempting a move around the outside of the right hander, and again challenging at the Montreal hairpin moments later. Hyman took advantage to move into the lead with Russell second and Palmer third at the end of the opening tour.
Palmer passed Russell for second place on lap two and then set his attentions on Hyman. Forcing his way through into the lead at the Montreal hairpin, Palmer led the race by 1.8s at the end of lap three and then set a string of fastest laps, including a Snetterton F4 lap record, to take his second F4 victory, having won in the Winter Championship at Brands Hatch last November.
Hyman settled for second place, fighting off championship rival Russell with the pair separated by 0.25s at the flag, the pair lapping nose to tail for the entirety of the second half of the race.
Sennan Fielding ensured it was an excellent result for HHC with fourth place, while Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Nicolas Beer claimed his first points since Silverstone with a strong drive to fifth. Hillspeed’s Gustavo Lima was half a second behind in sixth, with Douglas Motorsport’s Diego Menchaca seventh and Arjun Maini eighth, the pair separated by just 0.087s at the flag. The Indian racer will therefore start the second race of the weekend, held at 10.55 tomorrow morning, from pole position.
Maini’s Lanan Racing team mate Struan Moore finished ninth with Chris Middlehurst completing the top-10 for Mark Godwin Racing.
Speaking after the race, Palmer commented: "The start was tricky, I tried really hard to take the lead off the line and tried to go around the outside of George [Russell] at Riches on the first lap but couldn't quite do it. I tried again at the hairpin and fell to third. I picked off George on lap two then Raoul on lap three and from then on I was just putting in quick laps, not focusing on my mirrors and keeping my head down.
"I was watching how many laps were left and the time I needed for fastest lap of the race. It looks like we're going to have a great weekend; I'll see what I can do from eighth on the reverse grid tomorrow. Having set fastest lap in this race, hopefully no-one will improve their times tomorrow and I'll have pole for race three and we can hopefully target another win."
Palmer, Hyman and Russell received their trophies on the podium from BTCC and GT racing star Anthony Reid.
At the top of the championship standings, Russell’s lead has been trimmed to 16 points over Hyman, while Palmer leaps into third ahead of Maini and Fielding.
BRDC F4 Race one result, Snetterton 300:
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 10 laps2. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +3.050s3. George Russell, Lanan Racing, +3.299s4. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +5.027s5. Nicolas Beer, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +9.296s6. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, +9.806s7. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +12.361s8. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +12.446s9. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, +13.023s10. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, +13.905s
BRDC F4 Championship standings after race seven of 24:*
1. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 179pts2. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, 163pts3. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 134pts4. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, 133pts5. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, 120pts6. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, 104pts7. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, 103pts8. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, 102pts9. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, 82pts10. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, 69pts
Two further F4 races at Snetterton will take place at 10.55 and 15.35 Sunday.