Being a racing father isn’t easy. It can take a lot of time, money and emotional stress to guide a son or daughter up the racing ladder.
Nelson Piquet has seen it all before: not just in his own career (which led to three Formula 1 titles) but also with his older son Nelson Jr, who also made it to F1 after success in GP2.
Now, his younger son Pedro is racing in the GP3 Series and enjoying a positive rookie season, sitting fifth in the standings after the first four rounds. After second place in the Sunday races in France and Austria, Pedro climbed one step higher on the podium at Silverstone for his first win in European racing.
To do it, he had to beat another son of a famous racing father: his own Trident team-mate Giuliano Alesi. The Frenchman was starting from pole position and looking for his fifth Sunday race win, having taken his first at Silverstone in 2017.
Piquet however got the better launch to take the lead. “After that, it was about understanding how the track was and how the tyres were handling,” he said. “At the beginning it was a bit difficult, but in the end the pace got better.”
It wasn’t Pedro’s first triumph on Pirelli tyres, having used them to win two Brazilian Formula 3 titles by the age of 17. Success in Europe has taken time, but he says the familiarity with the tyres in GP3 is helping, while his father says that he has “turned from a kid into a man” this year.
In Austria, Nelson was on hand to present Valtteri Bottas (the 2011 GP3 champion) with the Pirelli Pole Position Award. He has a strong connection with Pirelli, having taken the final victory for the Italian company during its previous stint supplying F1 before its return in 2011, when he won the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix for Benetton. He also took the first win of that Pirelli era, in the 1985 French Grand Prix.
At Silverstone, he got to stand on the top step of the podium alongside Pedro, with Jean Alesi joining him up there next to Giuliano. It was something of a new experience for Nelson, who was denied a Silverstone win in a famous duel with the crowd favourite Nigel Mansell in 1987.
If Pedro keeps up his form, maybe he will get the chance to do it again.