BRADLEY Smith returned to the top of the podium after taking his maiden Radical European Masters victory.

The Billericay driver had tasted plenty of first places as he stormed to back-to-back drivers championships over the past two seasons.

And he took the chequered flag in only the second round in the sports car series after leading from start to finish at Brands Hatch, although he lost a lap during confusion when the safety car was deployed following a crash.

“We got a good start and the changes we made to the car worked,” said Smith, who won the Radical Clubman’s and SR3 Championships in 2012 and 2013.

“Yes, it was confusing waving me by and then taking a lap off, but as a team we are still learning the car, it is like doing our testing in public.”

Smith secured a second and a seventh in the opening two rounds at the Nurburgring in Germany earlier in the month.

And he qualified fifth for race one and pole for the second race at Brands GP circuit at the weekend.

He was under pressure from Estonian driver Tristan Viidas early in the race and moved back up to fifth after an early pit stop.

But the Essex driver lost a place to fellow Brit Ross Kaiser with four laps to go and then saw teenage driver Viidas grab a late sixth as Smith battled against oversteer in the high speed corners.

Following the seventh-place finish the Mectech team made significant changes to Smith’s Radical SR8 car, the 23-year-old overcame pressure off the grid to lead into Druids.

Smith resisted several challenges from Latvian Konstantin Calko but on the 12th lap the Briton was waved through as the safety car was deployed following a crash at Dingle Dell.

Smith pitted while the safety car was out and went a lap up on the rest of the field.

He pressed on and, despite having the lap taken off him by officials, he took the race win after holding off a challenge from Italian driver Marco Cencetti.

Smith and the Mectech team head out for the third round at the Hungaroring on July 5 and 6