First Euro F3 Podium ‘a long time coming’ for Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin took second place in race one at Spa-Francorchamps - Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship / Thomas Suer

Nikita Mazepin took his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps, and said he hoped it could lead to him being more consistently racing at the front of the field.

The Russian qualified an excellent fifth for the opening race of the weekend in Belgium and moved up to third when team-mate Jake Hughes and Prema Powerteam’s Callum Ilott clashed, before catching and passing Maximilian Günther for second.

Mazepin did not have anything for Lando Norris up front, particularly as he found it increasingly difficult to maintain the performance in his tyres, but he was delighted to finally find his way onto the podium at the forty-sixth time of asking.

“My maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish was a long time coming, but now, I am very happy,” said Mazepin. “In the opening stages, I just managed to avoid the accident with Callum and Jake and found myself in third place.

“Once I had overtaken Maximilian, I probably was a bit too eager and my tyres degraded. Now, we have to work to ensure that we are consistent front runners, but we are in a good way.”

Unfortunately for Mazepin, his other results did not match that seen in race one, with a seventh place finish coming in race two and an eleventh place finish in race three, meaning he left Spa-Francorchamps twelfth in the championship standings.