Sims slices through field to extend his championship lead

Alexander Sims at the Nurburgring

Alexander Sims at the Nurburgring

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RACING driver Alexander Sims extended his Championship lead with a storming drive at the Nurburgring on Sunday.

The GP3 driver charged from 12th on the grid to second and now tops the drivers’ table with 34 points.

Sims, from Wansford, said: “For the second weekend running the weather has played a big part in our races.

“We had a really strong race and to come through field from 12th to 2nd in tricky conditions is a good result and means I have extended my lead in the Championship despite a tough start to the weekend.”

The next round is in Hungary this weekend and the former Stamford schoolboy added: “We head to Budapest with confidence but we also know there is still room for improvement, especially in qualifying.

“It’s still tight at the top so we will continue to work hard and not take our championship lead for granted as all that matters is where we finish at the end of the season.”

Saturday’s qualifying session was a tightly contested affair with the top 25 cars separated by less than a second. The Gravity Sport Management driver had been running in the top three during Friday’s free practice session and in Saturday’s qualifying session posted a 1.49.68 which saw him line up for race one in seventh position.

On Saturday afternoon the grid was faced with the same dilemma as at Silverstone with spots of rain falling before the start of race one and the teams forced to make a call on tyres.

Sims and the Status Grand Prix team elected to start the race on slicks and he made a clean start, maintaining his position during the frantic first corners of the race as cars jostled for position.

On lap ten and running in sixth, the rain started to come down heavily across half of the track and realising that it would be near impossible to fight for a win on slicks, Sims was brought in at the end of lap ten in the hope that the rain would worsen and he could leapfrog the other cars by pitting early.

Sims rejoined the field in 19th but struggled to get heat into the tyres on the damp track. To make matters worse for Sims, the rain remained steady which allowed the cars on slicks to continue on without pitting.

By the last lap Sims’ tyres were up to temperature and he was able to make up five places, crossing the finish line in 12th.

Sunday’s race saw Sims line up in 12th on the grid and with heavy rain falling prior to the start of the race he was fitted with wets.

Sims made a strong start; gaining six places by turn three. Despite the tricky conditions and other cars going off around him, Sims kept a cool head and continued to move through the field and was up to fourth by the end of lap one.

He moved up to third on lap two and just two laps later he had caught and passed second placed Pal Kiss. Sims then began to close the gap on race leader Bottas; taking approximately half a second per lap off his lead.

Sims crossed the finish line in second place; 1.4 seconds behind race winner Bottas and picked up a further five Championship points to extend his lead in the championship.