A pair of second places at the iconic Silverstone GP circuit (June 25-27) ensured Gloucestershire’s Zak O’Sullivan maintained his early lead at the top of the British F3 Championship standings.
Racing in front of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) for the first time since being chosen for its SuperStars development programme, O’Sullivan overcame a slow start in testing to secure podiums in both of the opening encounters and ninth in a chaotic reverse-grid finale.
The 16-year-old qualified second in his Carlin-run machine, just 0.061 behind Reece Ushijima (Hitech), with his second-best qualifying time good enough for third on the grid for the second race.
O’Sullivan held position from the start in the opener, shadowing Ushijima closely without getting close enough to attempt a pass thanks to the ‘dirty air’ effect of following another car around Silverstone’s fast, sweeping corners.
He continued this form in the second race, passing Frederick Lubin (Arden) on the first lap to settle in a clear second behind Ushijima and holding off the late-race attentions of Roberto Faria (Fortec) to take his fourth podium in six races.
The reverse grid finale saw O’Sullivan carve his way through the field from 16th to seventh in the opening laps but after choosing a higher downforce setup, he lost out in wheel-to-wheel combat to cars with higher top speed, eventually taking ninth at the flag.
He was still able to pass Ushijima late on, giving him a six-point lead over the Japanese driver after six races.
O’Sullivan, from Withington, near Cirencester, said: “The Thursday test wasn’t ideal but we worked really hard on Friday night to recover and go into quali with a good car. We were just 0.06 off pole and in hindsight, had we got that it would have helped our weekend in a big way.
“P2 and P2 in the first two races were really strong. I couldn’t really do much in the dirty air of Reece and I think I got a bit lucky in race two to hold on to second at the end.
“In race three, we still had our high downforce trick compared with the low downforce everyone else was running. While it was quicker over one lap, we struggled a bit in the races.
“It’s just one of those things – it was a bit frustrating but finishing the races is important, race three especially.”
Next up for O’Sullivan is a trip to Donington Park in a fortnight’s time, a venue where he took his first win in single-seaters on his debut British F4 weekend in 2020.
“For Donington it’s wait and see, no expectations. We thought we’d be quite strong here and we struggled initially. It seems like it’s going to be a very close championship with lots of cars at the front,” he added.