Nick Padmore was the man to beat at Donington Park in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship with two race wins. Padmore’s opening success came under grey skies, with Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012) squeezing ahead of Nick’s quick-starting Williams FW07, with Loic Deman (Tyrrell 010) slotting into third by the end of the first lap and Padmore showing no sign of dropping away.
Rob Hall (Ligier JS/17) climbed to fourth at the expense of Mike Wrigley (Williams FW07B), who also lost out to Greg Thornton’s Lotus 91/5. By lap three, the drizzle came and on a slippery circuit, the order began to shuffle. Padmore relieved Stretton and then, on lap seven, Deman took the lead briefly, he and Padmore running side by side at Redgate. Stretton had found his rhythm again and was closing in on the leaders as Hall came under attack from Greg Thornton. Stretton took second from Deman at the Melbourne Hairpin, repeating the move in a demon late-braking manoeuvre to take the lead from Padmore two laps later.
It was far from over though: Padmore took the lead back at Coppice, but as the lead trio closed in to lap James Hagan’s Hesketh 308, Stretton lost his front wing and pulled straight into the pits. This put Rob Hall into third as Nick Padmore kept it tidy in the run up to the flag, with constant drizzle still falling, the Brit chased by Belgian Deman. Max Smith-Hilliard (Shadow DN5) took the win in the Pre-78 division.
Padmore and Stretton locked out the front row for the second race but Stretton was slow on his toes as the lights went out, gifting Padmore the advantage. Mike Wrigley bagged second spot with Deman third.
Stretton passed Wrigley into Redgate on lap two and Deman passed Wrigley for third a lap later, while Greg Thornton’s Lotus was also closing on Wrigley until the Williams fell in the gravel at the Esses.
Padmore was up front, controlling the race with a 2.6 second gap to Stretton, the field taking care while the Wrigley car was recovered from the gravel. Behind, Deman and Thornton were in third and fourth, but Rob Hall’s Ligier took fourth place just before the Lotus retired with gearbox problems.
Stretton set fastest lap in his pursuit of Padmore but Nick responded with his own fastest lap to protect his position with just two minutes to go. Coming into the final lap, Stretton was flinging the Tyrrell around, taking fastest lap back, the lead battle being the best of the race. At the line, Stretton was just 0.3 seconds behind, Padmore once again taking victory with Loic Deman in third.
The next stop for the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship is at the Silverstone Classic on July 29-31 where the Padmore, Stretton, Deman contest will feature once again.