Herbert was racing in the International Superstars Series on his home circuit of Donington and so will be among the main players in the weekend’s races. His car is fielded by Swiss Team, under the direction of Giuseppe Angiulli.
The Englishman’s performance was all the more impressive because he has not raced since last October. Herbert only got behind the wheel of the car for the practice sessions ahead of this third round and took control of a Maserati Quattroporte Evo for the first time after racing rival cars for most of his career.
Herbert felt at home in the Maserati right away, a car in which two other ex-F1 drivers have climbed into: Mika Salo at Monza and Christian Fittipaldi at Imola.
Herbert placed fourth in the only F1 GP that Donington has ever hosted, in 1993. He qualified third last year in the International Superstars Series, when driving for another manufacturer, before going on to finish second behind Andrea Bertolini (and sixth in Race 2). Bertolini was in the same series-winning Quattroporte Evo that Herbert is now driving.
Things did not run so smoothly for Mauro Cesari. The Italian only began racing in 2007 and is still getting to grips with the Quattroporte Evo. He needed to cover lots of laps in free practice but broke his differential on his very first lap. The glitch was probably down to a manufacturing fault and the hiccup resulted in Cesari taking part in only the final laps of the session. As he didn’t have the chance to learn about the circuit and set up the car as he wanted to, he could not better 15th in qualifying.