Ferrari Academy Driver Callum Ilott secured his fourth podium of the 2018 season this weekend, finishing third on the eve of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Continuing his run of scoring points in every race so far, Ilott followed up with a fifth on Sunday as well as bagging fastest lap in both outings at one of the quickest tracks on the calendar.
“Overall I’m pleased with another podium, with the bonus of fastest lap in both races," says Ilott. “I’m delivering on the consistency and speed that’s needed to push for the championship.”
Qualifying for Saturday’s race had seen Ilott challenging for pole in the late heat of Friday evening, topping the times twice before his time of 1.46.348 meant he would line up fourth. “I just didn’t drive as well as I could have, I pushed slightly too hard in the wrong places and this cost me in the end.” says Ilott. “We did have the pace to be on the front, so I have had to accept and learn from my mistakes.”
A good start in Saturday’s Feature Race saw Ilott beat his fellow Ferrari Driver Academy driver Giuliano Alesi off the second row and move immediately up to third. Further progress was delayed by a series of safety car periods that meant racing didn’t fully resume until lap six. “The Virtual Safety Car periods meant we wouldn’t get the tyre degradation we expected by the end, and the chances that can offer. It was a bit frustrating not to have the chance to have more of a go at my team mates,” adds Ilott. “I tried to catch Nikita Mazepin ahead in second, but he was able to open up his DRS to maintain the gap. Still, I pushed hard to make sure I got the fastest lap and that delivered two more points to add to the 15 for third.”
Sunday’s early start saw the GP3 runners beat the Silverstone traffic with their race starting just after 8am. The reverse grid format used in the sprint race meant Ilott would grid up sixth. Another good getaway saw Ilott up to fifth, passing a slow-moving Boccolacci. As the cars rounded Turn Six and Seven, Ilott was boxed in, giving Anthoine Hubert an opportunity to pass. Just a few corners later, Ilott was then tagged by Joey Mawson at Copse, dropping him back to sixth. By lap nine, Ilott was charging back, using DRS to pass Pulcini for fifth. Having saved his DRS, Ilott was planning a further late charge but another Virtual Safety Car period was called with three laps to run, which meant any opportunity was lost. “The safety cars cost me this weekend, but I’m happy with the overall job I did. I’m leaving Silverstone with 25 more points in total and another home trophy. As a Brit, that trip to the Silverstone podium in front of the British fans is always a highlight of a season.”
The championship reaches the halfway stage at Hungaroring on July 27th. Before Hungary in two weeks’ time, Ilott will head to the Italian mountains for his next Ferrari Driver Academy training camp. “We’ve got trekking, some serious mountain-biking and even paddle boarding scheduled. After a couple of days rest this week, it will be time to continue the training ahead of the next few rounds.” concludes Ilott.