The opening race of the FIA F3 European Championship at Monza would see plenty of fights for position, as well as several incidents along the way. Prema Powerteam’s Raffaele Marciello led from the first corner for all 19 laps, taking the chequered flag just over 2 seconds in front of teammate Lucas Auer. kfzteile 24 Mücke Motorsport’s Pascal Wehrlein would have to relinquish the lead and eventually settle for third, thanks to a very bold manoeuver by the Italian into the first chicane, before Auer overtook him on Lap 10.
ThreeBond with T-Sport’s William Buller came from 12th on the grid to finish 4th, having had a grand effort making his way through the field, pipping Harry Tincknell, with Jordan King, Tincknell’s Carlin Racing teammate, battling hard with Felix Seralles from Fortec Motorsports, who pipped the British F3 novice.
Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport), Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam) and Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsports), provided the onlookers with a very entertaining spell of close racing and multiple overtakes, before Wolf and GT Academy winner Mardenborough collected each other, forcing both to retire. Gilbert ended up with a puncture, with Cheever and Derani finishing behind Prema Powerteam’s Alex Lynn and Dennis van de Laar from Van Amersofft Racing.
Tom Blomqvist, son of legendary rally driver Stig Blomqvist, was set for a top ten finish, but contact with kfzteile 24 Mücke Motorsport’s Felix Rosenqvist, resulted in the Brit being awarded a drive-through penalty, ending up in 13th, whilst the Swede retired from the first race of the season,
Both Marciello and Auer were complimentary of their vehicles, as no one was able to challenge either driver, who showed great pace, as Wehrlein struggled to keep up. “The two Prema guys in front of me had a great speed, which I wasn’t able to match. After ten laps, I let Lucas past. I had hoped to stay in his slipstream, in order to maybe attack him again at the end,” said the German. “Moreover, I wanted to prevent others from closing up in case we would have become involved in a long battle. Third place is okay, but now, we have to try and improve the car.”