The 2023 Formula 2 title fight has closed up after a disastrous Feature Race for Frederik Vesti that has Theo Pourchaire right on his tail as the championship heads onto the home straight.
Vesti's Sunday retirement shows how quickly things can change in the lower categories and serves to warn Gabriel Bortoleto that he still hasn't sewn it all up in Formula 3.
Nonetheless, Vesti and Bortoleto remain on top of their championships on a weekend where others took the spoils in the high-scoring Feature Races, with these young drivers facing yet another round with wet weather and four more highly entertaining races.
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Victor Martins: A
After a season where Victor Martins has so often occupied the top spots in the races, it's bizarre that the Frenchman's first win came so deep into 2023 at Silverstone, but he took it in style.
The reigning F3 champion seemed to want to emulate Oscar Piastri by winning F3 and then F2 in consecutive years too much earlier this year, causing costly crashes and spins, but this weekend finally has his potential shine through.
Pole, the fastest lap, and the race win, even with a rather dubious (in this writer's opinion) five-second penalty from a Lap 1 incident — Martins' Feature Race shows he'll be one to look out for next season... and he might even cause teammate Pourchaire some headaches this year.
Jack Doohan: A-
Please Indulge me a little as I celebrate the return of the feisty Jack Doohan I had expected to challenge for the title before this 2023 season began.
Perhaps others scored higher at Silverstone, but I was delighted to see the aggressive Aussie race at the front again, with his wave at the locking-up Ollie Bearman in Saturday's Sprint Race easily becoming my favourite moment of Formula 2 in 2023.
Doohan has frustrated himself and those that rate him, myself included, early in the year, but this British GP weekend showed that the punchy and plucky racer is still there and that Alpine's Academy is still one of the best in the sport for talent.
Théo Pourchaire: A-
I can't put my finger on what it is, but there's something about Pourchaire's championship duel with Vesti making me lean towards the Frenchman as my title pick, despite Vesti arguably driving better this year.
More often than not, it's Vesti, not Pourchaire, that's leading the race or ahead of his ART rival on track, and still, Pourchaire remains right at the sharp end of the championship standings in an almost nonchalant manner.
The smiles and shrugs in his post-race interviews suggest that Pourchaire's in a good place, and a brace of Silverstone silverware will help that positive mindset going into the championship's upcoming critical crunch period.
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Christian Mansell: A-
What a weekend for the 2022 Euro Formula Open graduates, with Christian Mansell and Ollie Goethe walking away with podium trips from F3's British round.
While I concede Goethe taking the Feature Race win is objectively better than Mansell's podium, the Australian gets the first mention in this week's F3 power rankings because the resurgent Campos team still aren't on par with the mighty Trident, but you wouldn't know that from Mansell's performance.
A second-row qualification on Friday and a P3 finish on Saturday after some wheel-to-wheel fun with teammate and friend Pepe Martí will mean the world to Mansell — not to mention team boss Adrian Campos Jr, who is showing that the Spanish outfit means business.
Ollie Goethe: A-
Gabriel Bortoleto's lofty position in the standings exemplifies Trident's might in Formula 3, so Ollie Goethe and Leonardo Fornaroli's 1-2 qualification and Feature Race win reminded the world that there are two other Tridents racing.
Goethe's results since his P2 in the season-opener haven't matched his ability, with no points scored between then and Silverstone, despite some decent efforts, most notably in Australia, where two punctures ruined his trip Down Under.
Fornaroli was wise to stand aside for Goethe to take the win on Sunday when the two got close as the Italian's tyres struggled, but that doesn't take away anything from Goethe's victory as he had the same tyres but managed their life better.
Dino Beganovic: B
I admit that putting Dino Beganovic in here but not Fornaroli or Bortoleto is a bold call, yet I can't help but love a spirited fight through the order from a driver 20-30 places lower than they should be.
A rare mechanical issue for PREMA in qualifying had Beganovic begin both races from last place with 29 cars ahead of him. Still, he waltzed past half the field in each race to enjoy classifications of P13 and P14 to no points but plenty of plaudits.
Alex Brundle's description of Beganovic seeming like a positively-charged magnet racing through a pack of negatively-charged rivals seemed apt, and looking at the Swede's onboard footage often seemed like he was playing the new F1 game set to its lowest difficulty.
Jim Kim's 2023 Ongoing rankings
I can't punish Vesti for retiring from an incident where he was an innocent party, especially after he eased to another Sprint Race win on Saturday, but it's getting close between the Danish racer and Pourchaire.
Victor Martins' form has him break into my top-10 at the expense of Bearman, for now, with both F2 rookies impressing me equally as much. Recency bias has me lean towards Martins and his excellent run of four podiums from six races.
1. Gabriel Bortoleto - F3 (Trident)
2. Frederick Vesti - F2 (PREMA)
3. Theo Pourchaire - F2 (ART)
4. Dino Beganovic - F3 (PREMA)
5. Ayumu Iwasa - F2 (DAMS)
6. Zak O'Sullivan - F3 (PREMA)
7. Gabriele Minì - F3 (Hitech)
8. Victor Martins - F2 (ART)
9. Pepe Martí - F3 (Campos)
10. Franco Colapinto - F3 (MP Motorsport)
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