Silverstone (16th April 2013) - Indonesia’s Sean Gelael continued to make strong progress in his FIA Formula 3 European Championship season on the British Grand Prix circuit of Silverstone, during which he briefly looked as though he could take his first points finish.

The 16-year-old, who is by far the least-experienced driver in the field and also the youngest, coped with typically changeable British weather conditions. Rain in the free practice sessions on Friday hampered his bid to learn the track in his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes, and all of the three races started on a slippery circuit.

Nevertheless, in the last of the three races, Sean charged through from 22nd place on the starting grid, which is packed with top international talent, to run in 12th position. With the top 10 drivers all scoring points, all he needed was an incident ahead to eliminate two cars and he would have become the championship’s youngest-ever points scorer.

Still, that achievement is still very much a realistic possibility if he continues his current progress.

In the first race, he was unfortunate to get caught in a first-corner collision. He needed a pit stop to replace the nose section, carrying the all-important front wing that generates the cornering downforce so vital in a Formula 3 car. He then set good lap times but of course there was no chance of a good result.

Race two was good, with Sean running on the tail of a midfield group before finishing in 16th position. “This British weather has been amazing!” he said. “Before the first race, I had only seven laps of Silverstone in the dry, so I am still learning all the time. It was unfortunate in the first race that two guys spun in front and I had nowhere to go, but after my pit stop my speed was OK.

“For race two I had a good start, but we had changed something on the car’s set-up and it did not quite work out. But still, it’s good to get to the finish of the races and gain experience. With every lap I am finding new things.”

The third race provided Gelael with an excellent start to rocket up the order. “I went from 22nd to 15th straight away and I was thinking, ‘Yeah! This will be great!’ Then I got up to 12th as other cars went off the circuit in the slippery conditions. The first three laps were all right but then the experience of the other drivers told – they were able to push as conditions dried out. But, because of our lack of experience, me and my team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi did not know the limits so we couldn’t be as fast.

“I was still trying to find the limit on the last lap when I spun off. OK, it was a shame not to get to the finish, but I was not going to score points anyway and it’s important for me at this point to keep pushing as hard as I can.”

It’s now straight back to his studies in Indonesia for Sean, but he will be back in Europe in time for the next European F3 round – at the German Grand Prix circuit of Hockenheim on May 4th and 5th. And he will be hoping for dry weather this time!

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