Charles Leclerc became the third different winner of the opening weekend of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship season as he led race three at Silverstone from start to finish.
The Monegasque driver, racing this year for Van Amersfoort Racing after moving up from racing in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2014, held off the attention of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Antonio Giovinazzi throughout the eighteen-lap race to take the victory.
Giovinazzi’s podium means he finished inside the top three in every race this weekend, and will leave Silverstone with the Championship lead.
Prema Powerteam’s Jake Dennis snatched the final podium spot on the final lap from Gustavo Menezes, with the second Jagonya Ayam driver having run in third position for much of the race after making a great start from eighth on the grid before a fuel pump issue cost him power on the final lap.
George Russell took advantage of a late safety car period to retrieve the stricken Fortec Motorsports machine of Pietro Fittipaldi at Village to pass Alexander Albon at the restart, with the race two winner finishing on the tail of fourth placed Menezes at the chequered flag.
Signature’s Lotus Junior Team driver Albon was therefore resigned to sixth after initially challenging Dennis for fourth early in the race before losing pace as he used the best of his tyres.
Markus Pommer took seventh for his second points finish of the weekend for Motopark, ahead of Brandon Maisano of Prema Powerteam, while Callum Ilott gained two positions in the final few laps to take ninth in the Red Bull-liveried Carlin entry.
Mikkel Jensen took the final point on offer for Mücke Motorsport ahead of Ryan Tveter of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, who could not quite make a move to get into the points at the restart stick.
Felix Rosenqvist could not quite reach the points after starting right at the back following his post-qualifying penalty, finishing twelfth for Prema Powerteam, but the Swede will come back fighting in Hockenheim at the beginning of May.
The safety car was deployed at the end of the first lap to retrieve Lance Stroll’s Prema Powerteam car that had spun at the exit of Luffield corner in an otherwise clean opening lap, unlike the previous two races on Saturday.
“What a hard race,” said race winner Leclerc. “The start wasn’t amazing but I still kept my place, which was the main goal. Then after the first lap we managed to get a big gap, then we had the first safety car where I was a bit under pressure because Antonio was fast behind me.
“After the safety car we managed to do a gap again and we more or less kept it until the second safety car, which I really didn’t expect. The last laps were really difficult but in general but it has been a good race and P1 at the end so really happy.
“As George [Russell] said yesterday in testing we were fast but we didn’t really know what to expect from the race or the qualifying when everyone would be on full gas, its a bit of a surprise and as well it was to be expected after the test, and its good to be here [in second place in the championship].”
Silverstone Race 3 Result
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