Liam Lawson withstood heavy pressure from a trio of Prema Racing drivers to claim his second FIA Formula 3 Championship victory of 2020 in the opening race of the weekend at Silverstone on Saturday.
Starting from pole position, Logan Sargeant held the lead into turn one but lost the position to Lawson at Stowe, the New Zealander impressively sweeping around the outside of the American.
Behind them, Max Fewtrell’s impressive Qualifying performance went to waste as, whilst battling with Frederik Vesti for fourth, he ran wide entering the Wellington Straight and dropped down to twentieth.
After losing the lead on lap one, Stowe would also be the place where Sargeant lost second to team-mate Piastri, with the Australian then reeling in Lawson at the front of the field. Piastri had one big attempt for the lead on lap eleven, the two at the front going side by side through Stowe right through to Club before the Hitech Grand Prix driver edged back ahead.
Vesti also lost a position at the same corner, falling behind the charging Jake Hughes, but any chance of any more progress was halted by the introduction of a pair of safety car periods.
The first safety car was required on lap twelve after the cars of Bent Viscaal and Jack Doohan ended up close to the entrance of the national pit lane. Viscaal was attempting to pass series debutant Ben Barnicoat only to collide with the Carlin driver, with the MP Motorsport racer spinning to the inside and collecting the innocent Doohan.
After just one full racing lap, the safety car was out again after Olli Caldwell, whilst challenging with team-mate Lirem Zendelli, was spun around by Fewtrell at Club, and the unfortunate and unsighted Lukas Dunner collected the Trident driver’s car. It was a heavy impact for Caldwell, with the back of the car being ripped away, although all three drivers were able to walk away without injury. The incident is under investigation by the stewards.
The race was forced to finish behind the safety car due to the incident, which allowed Lawson to clinch the win ahead of Piastri, while Sargeant completed the podium ahead of Hughes and Vesti.
Lawson bizarrely was told late to go take the chequered flag through the pit lane on the final lap, with the New Zealander collecting the bollard on the pit entry as a result. He stated his displeasure at the late instructions across the radio to his team.
Alexander Peroni, who had his best Qualifying lap reinstated ahead of the race to see him start sixth, finished sixth having run as high as fifth before Hughes found his way passed.
Sebastián Fernández was the leading ART Grand Prix finisher in seventh after a good pass on Carlin’s Clément Novalak just before the safety car periods, while David Beckmann and Aleksander Smolyar completed the points scorers.
Théo Pourchaire, who came into the weekend as the only driver to have won twice in 2020, had a disappointing race. The ART Grand Prix ace had started outside the top ten but was unable to better twelfth at the chequered flag, just behind MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor. Zendeli ended thirteenth ahead of Calan Williams and Igor Fraga.
Earlier in the race, there was a brief virtual safety car as Matteo Nannini spun at Luffield, but the young Italian was able to resume the race once he found a gear. The opening lap also saw a spin for Sophia Flörsch after the German was pitched into a spin by Red Bull Junior Dennis Hauger. The Norwegian, a podium finisher last time out in Hungary, was penalised for the incident.
There was also issues for David Schumacher, who started from the pit lane after issues on the formation lap, while Alessio Deledda stalled on the grid, although both were able to resume.
Sunday’s reverse grid race will, subject to confirmation of the result, see Smolyar start on pole position for ART Grand Prix alongside Trident’s Beckmann.
|1||5||Liam Lawson||NZL||Hitech Grand Prix||20 Laps|
|2||1||Oscar Piastri||AUS||Prema Racing||+1.060s|
|3||3||Logan Sargeant||USA||Prema Racing||+2.698s|
|4||15||Jake Hughes||GBR||HWA Racelab||+5.127s|
|5||2||Frederik Vesti||DEN||Prema Racing||+9.087s|
|6||29||Alexander Peroni||AUS||Campos Racing||+11.298s|
|7||9||Sebastián Fernández||VEN||ART Grand Prix||+13.542s|
|8||26||Clément Novalak||GBR||Carlin Buzz Racing||+15.461s|
|10||8||Aleksander Smolyar||RUS||ART Grand Prix||+21.295s|
|11||17||Richard Verschoor||NED||MP Motorsport||+24.424s|
|12||7||Théo Pourchaire||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+30.609s|
|14||20||Calan Williams||AUS||Jenzer Motorsport||+35.534s|
|15||24||Igor Fraga||BRZ||Charouz Racing System||+36.587s|
|16||6||Dennis Hauger||NOR||Hitech Grand Prix||+43.637s|
|17||23||Roman Staněk||CZE||Charouz Racing System||+45.157s|
|18||14||Enzo Fittipaldi||BRZ||HWA Racelab||+46.350s|
|19||21||Federico Malvestiti||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||+47.149s|
|20||27||Ben Barnicoat||GBR||Carlin Buzz Racing||+49.118s|
|21||28||Cameron Das||USA||Carlin Buzz Racing||+50.073s|
|22||31||Sophia Flörsch||GER||Campos Racing||+51.724s|
|23||30||Alessia Deledda||ITA||Campos Racing||+55.015s|
|24||22||Matteo Nannini||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||+63.739s|
|25||25||David Schumacher||GER||Charouz Racing System||+1 Lap|
|RET||4||Max Fewtrell||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||Retired|
|RET||19||Lukas Dunner||AUT||MP Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||18||Bent Viscaal||NED||MP Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||16||Jack Doohan||AUS||HWA Racelab||Retired|