Verstappen Holds off Auer for Race 1 Victory

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen took his second victory of his rookie FIA European Formula 3 Championship season at Spa-Francorchamps as championship leader Esteban Ocon crashed out on the opening lap.

Pole sitter Ocon of Prema Powerteam lost the lead to Van Amersfoort Racing’s Verstappen on the way down the Kemmel straight on the opening lap, but then found himself in between the Mucke Motorsport machine of Lucas Auer and Prema Powerteam team-mate Antonio Fuoco that resulted in the Frenchman retiring after contact with Fuoco. It was the first time in 2014 that the Lotus F1 junior driver has failed to score points. Fuoco was also delayed by the incident but was able to continue in the race.

Verstappen controlled the race from the front, and even a safety car intervention on the sixth lap to clear up a crash between Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Antonio Giovinazzi and EuroInternational debutant Santino Ferrucci could not stop the sixteen-year-old from taking the win.

Auer gave Verstappen the most trouble as the race progressed, and made a last lap move to take the lead on the final lap that the Dutchman repelled. Auer finished less than one second behind Verstappen at the flag.

Briton Jake Dennis completed the podium for Carlin after a hard-fought battle with Auer’s Mucke Motorsport team-mate Felix Rosenqvist. The Swede looked set to take third after passing Dennis on the final lap, but his car slowed dramatically in the final sector and he dropped to seventh, promoting Tom Blomqvist of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin into fourth, the recovering Fuoco into fifth and Gustavo Menezes of Van Amersfoort Racing into sixth.

Brazilian racer Felipe Guimaraes scored his best result of the season so far with eighth for Double R Racing, just ahead of the third Van Amersfoort Racing machine of Dutchman Jules Szymkowiak, while Jordan King took the final point on offer for Carlin in tenth after starting the race on the back row of the grid.

Ocon still comfortably leads the championship by 70 points, having only lost twelve points to Blomqvist despite his early retirement.

Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Result

1 Max Verstappen NED Van Amersfoort Racing 35m52.852s
2 Lucas Auer AUT Mucke Motorsport +0.817s
3 Jake Dennis GBR Carlin +4.225s
4 Tom Blomqvist GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +4.670s
5 Antonio Fuoco ITA Prema Powerteam +7.392s
6 Gustavo Menezes USA Van Amersfoort Racing +7.799s
7 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Mucke Motorsport +9.427s
8 Felipe Guimaraes BRZ Double R Racing +13.047s
9 Jules Szymkowiak NED Van Amersfoort Racing +14.230s
10 Jordan King GBR Carlin +14.893s
11 Felix Serralles PUE Team West-Tec F3 +19.667s
12 Richard Goddard AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport +20.169s
13 Nicholas Latifi CAN Prema Powerteam +21.277s
14 John Bryant-Meisner SWE Fortec Motorsports +21.841s
15 Tatiana Calderon COL Jo Zeller Racing +22.462s
16 Roy Nissany ISR Mucke Motorsport +23.240s
17 Dennis van de Laar NED Prema Powerteam +25.584s
18 Sean Galael INO Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +26.183s
19 Hector Hurst GBR Team West-Tec F3 +27.905s
20 Mitchell Gilbert AUS Fortec Motorsports +29.256s
21 Sandro Zeller SWI Jo Zeller Racing +31.463s
22 Michele Beretta ITA EuroInternational +32.505s
RET Antonio Giovinazzi BRZ Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 5 Laps
RET Santino Ferrucci USA EuroInternational 5 Laps
RET Alexander Toril ESP ThreeBond with T-Sport 2 Laps
RET Esteban Ocon FRA Prema Powerteam 0 Laps