Felix Rosenqvist led from start to finish to win the opening round of the 20145 FIA European Formula 3 Championship at a damp Silverstone.
The Prema Powerteam driver had to contend with a safety car start after morning rain, but the track was dry enough for everyone to start on dry weather tyres, and then two additional safety car periods to clear up cars stranded in gravel traps.
The first safety car period was right when the green flag was shown at the start, when Van Amersfoort Racing’s Charles Leclerc made a move on Carlin’s George Russell at Vale that spun both drivers, although both were able to continue. Russell was left down in eighteenth position as a result after starting fourth, while Leclerc was left at the back in thirty-first after making a pit stop for repairs.
However Brandon Maisano also spun his Prema Powerteam machine in avoidance of the clash between Russell and Leclerc, and was unable to continue, as was Kang Ling of Mücke Motorsport, who spun at the same corner, with both drivers left stuck in a dangerous position.
When the race restarted again, Rosenqvist led away from Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Antonio Giovinazzi, with the duo pulling well clear of third placed Jake Dennis, with the gap heading over seven seconds before the introduction of the safety car for a second time after the Van Amersfoort Racing machine of Alessio Lorandi was beached at Luffield corner.
This left the race become a timed race rather than a distance race, with the race finishing three laps shy of its scheduled eighteen laps. Rosenqvist was able to control the pace when the safety car left the track again, and beat Giovinazzi to the win by just 0.938s, with Dennis hanging on for third, 2.681s behind the race winner.
Alexander Albon was fourth on his series debut for the Signature team, ahead of Markus Pommer who stayed out of trouble and moved up from ninth on the grid to finish fifth on Motopark’s series debut.
Lance Stroll was the third Prema Powerteam driver to finish inside the top six in sixth, ahead of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Gustavo Menezes, while Russell fought through the field to take a fantastic eighth after his start line incident.
Maximilian Gunther was the best placed Mücke Motorsport driver in ninth, losing eighth at Stowe corner on the final lap to the charging Russell, while Callum Ilott secured a point on his single seater race debut in tenth for Carlin, just ahead of Pietro Fittipaldi’s Fortec Motorsport machine and Leclerc, who like Russell fought through the field but ran out of laps to score points.
Silverstone Race 1 Result
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