Stroll secures opening Paul Ricard victory in Prema 1-2

Lance Stroll led home Nick Cassidy for a Prema Powerteam 1-2 finish in the season opening FIA European Formula 3 Championship race of the season at Paul Ricard on Saturday morning.

The Canadian initially lost the lead to his New Zealand team-mate at the start, but was ahead heading into the first turn of lap two, and was never threatened thereafter, with Stroll and Cassidy pulling away from the rest of the field.

George Russell secured the final spot on the podium for Hitech GP’s maiden top three finish after passing the slow starting Niko Kari at the start, with the Briton’s team-mate Ben Barnicoat finishing fourth and the top rookie.

Maximilian Günther was fifth in the third Prema Powerteam entry ahead of Motopark’s Joel Eriksson, while Ralf Aron made it all four Prema drivers inside the top seven.

Kari finished eighth despite the Finn’s slow start and a first corner clash with Motopark team-mate and fellow Red Bull-backed Sergio Sette Camara that dropped the Brazilian to the back of the field.

The Van Amersfoort Racing duo of Harrison Newey and Callum Ilott completed the top ten, with Ilott in particular impressing after starting the race from the back of the grid following an engine change penalty.

Both Newey and Ilott passed team-mate Pedro Piquet in the closing laps around the French circuit, while Alessio Lorandi was also involved in the scrap before dropping down to twelfth for Carlin.

Mikkel Jensen finished thirteen for Mücke Motorsport after making a dreadful start from sixth on the grid to the rear of the field, and passed a number of cars including Guanyu Zhou and Ryan Tveter as he tried to make amends.

Paul Ricard Race 1 Result

11Lance StrollCANPrema Powerteam34m39.947s
22Nick CassidyNZLPrema Powerteam+0.769s
312George RussellGBRHitech GP+6.983s
424Ben BarnicoatGBRHitech GP+8.615s
517Maximilian GuntherGERPrema Powerteam+9.202s
622Joel ErikssonSWEMotopark+13.040s
716Ralf AronESTPrema Powerteam+13.453s
810Niko KariFINMotopark+16.613s
920Harrison NeweyGBRVan Amersfoort Racing+19.159s
106Callum IlottGBRVan Amersfoort Racing+19.718s
115Pedro PiquetBRZVan Amersfoort Racing+20.747s
124Alessio LorandiITACarlin+20.967s
137Mikkel JensenDENMucke Motorsport+24.008s
1423Guanyu ZhouCHNMotopark+24.465s
153Ryan TveterUSACarlin+27.726s
169Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMotopark+34.218s
1721Anthoine HubertFRAVan Amersfoort Racing+34.428s
1819Raoul HymanRSACarlin+36.478s
1911Nikita MazepinRUSHitech GP+45.829s
2018Zhi Cong LiCHNCarlin+53.879s
RET15Arjun MainiINDThreeBond with T-SportRetired