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|
|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|
|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|
|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|