Esteban Ocon moved one step closer to winning the FIA European Formula 3 Championship after leading race one at Imola from start to finish, while main rival Max Verstappen was forced to retire after what was an eventful race for the Dutchman.
Prema Powerteam driver Ocon led fellow front row starter Jordan King from the start, and while the Carlin driver was able to stay close to the Frenchman, he was not able to pose a serious challenge and was forced to settle for second place, while his fellow Briton Tom Blomqvist finished third for Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, and in the process moved into second place in the championship.
Felix Rosenqvist posed a brief challenge to Blomqvist for the final podium spot early in the race, but the Mücke Motorsport driver was forced to settle for fourth, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi in the second Jagonya Ayam with Carlin machine.
Lucas Auer of Mücke Motorsport beat Jake Dennis of Carlin for sixth, while Felix Serralles of Team West-Tec F3 finished eighth. Tatiana Calderon climbed to ninth in her Jo Zeller Racing machine, while Sean Galael completed the top ten in the third of the three Jagonya Ayam with Carlin entries.
2015 Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Verstappen had an eventful race, climbing from his fifteenth position on the grid to move into the top seven, but lost a few places after an ambitious move on Dennis at the Tamburello chicane, and then lost the chance of points after clashes with Prema Powerteam driver Antonio Fuoco (who received a drive through penalty for causing a collision) and Mücke Motorsport’s Roy Nissany, with the incident with the latter causing them both to retire.
The safety car was needed at the end of the opening lap after a clash between new Fortec Motorsports team-mates Martin Cao and Santino Ferrucci that left the Chinese drivers’ car in a dangerous position.
Imola Race 1 Result
|1||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Prema Powerteam||35m57.565s|
|3||Tom Blomqvist||GBR||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+2.981s|
|4||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Mücke Motorsport||+5.556s|
|5||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+7.287s|
|6||Lucas Auer||AUT||Mücke Motorsport||+12.158s|
|8||Felix Serralles||PUE||Team West-Tec F3||+18.161s|
|9||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Jo Zeller Racing||+22.746s|
|10||Sean Galael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+23.766s|
|11||Nick Cassidy||NZL||ThreeBond with T-Sport||+30.024s|
|12||Dennis van de Laar||NED||Prema Powerteam||+33.607s|
|14||Sergio Matte Camara||BRZ||EuroInternational||+44.367s|
|15||Richard Goddard||AUS||ThreeBond with T-Sport||+44.846s|
|16||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Powerteam||+51.985s|
|18||Andy Chang||CHN||Team West-Tec F3||+58.071s|
|RET||Roy Nissany||ISR||Mücke Motorsport||17 Laps|
|RET||Max Verstappen||NED||Van Amersfoort Racing||17 Laps|
|RET||Gustavo Menezes||USA||Van Amersfoort Racing||16 Laps|
|RET||Alexander Toril||ESP||ThreeBond with T-Sport||10 Laps|
|RET||Jules Szymkowiak||NED||Van Amersfoort Racing||7 Laps|
|RET||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Prema Powerteam||0 Laps|
|RET||Martin Cao||CHN||Fortec Motorsports||0 Laps|
|RET||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Fortec Motorsports||0 Laps|
|RET||William Buller||GBR||Signature||0 Laps|