Matheus Leist slipped into the lead after a strong opening lap to eventually win the opening BRDC British F3 race at Silverstone. The race was marred however, by a large accident at the start in which Enzo Bortoleto was hit up the back by Krishnaraaj Mahadik after the Brazilian stalled.
It was initially a good start for Lando Norris as he leaped into second ahead of Leist, though the Brit was unable to take the lead before the safety car was called half way round the opening lap.
Bortoleto found himself in trouble as he stalled on the grid. Unsighted, Krishnaraaj Mahadik slammed into the back of him, destroying the front of the Chris Dittmann Racing machine. The incident left Bortoleto shaken up, spending a few minutes sitting on the grass at the start line while the debris was cleared up. He eventually left in an ambulance.
After being put under safety car, the field was given a red flag, with the organisers lining the cars up in grid order once again. This allowed the slow starters to regain their places, which was good news for Ricky Collard who’d initially dropped to seventh off the line.
Thomas Randle was unable to maintain his first start and lost the lead to Leist who was quick to break away from the pack. It wasn’t long before he was demoted another place as his chance of victory continued to slip away. Norris had been unable to repeat his start from the first start, but was sure to get the best of Randle on the Wellington straight.
The race wasn’t clean for everyone though, Aleksanteri Huovinen and Harrison Scott both pitted with damage and engine issues respectively. They’d both return to the circuit, but despite his crews best efforts, Scott slowed at the end of the first sector, retiring soon after.
Having locked onto second, Norris threw away an easy podium losing control and hitting the wall in the first sector. The incident locked Leist into the lead as third place Randle was already three seconds down after a few laps.
Toby Sowery proved to be one of the quickest on track as he scythed his way through the field, soon working his way up to seventh and joining the battle for third. With Norris off, a podium was now in reach for Tarun Reddy and Ricky Collard. The championship leader harried the Indian, but despite some agressive driving from the pair of them, Reddy held on to take third.
Their battle had resulted in a train behind as Enaam Ahmed and South African Sisa Ngebulana took fifth and six in front of the rapid Sowery and Jan Jonck.
The Checkered Flag caught up with Leist after the race. He said:
“The last round [at Oulton Park] was a bit difficult, we had some problems and the pace was not really good, but we managed to improve on it by almost getting pole position and winning the first race, I’m really happy, I hope we can repeat this.”
“On the first start, I lost a little bit of traction, but on the restart, I managed to do a great start and jump to the first position and that was the whole race for me.”