Aleksandr Smolyar was able to convert a front row start into a commanding victory in the first race of the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship at Barcelona.
The Russian youngster couldn’t quite pass pole sitter Jonny Edgar at the start but as soon as DRS was enabled, The ART driver was able to dive under the Brit into turn one on lap four and he never relinquished that lead.
His winning margin was cut somewhat after Oliver Rasmussen beached his HWA Racelab machine in the turn 16 gravel trap with just three laps to go and the safety car had to come out to end the race.
Edgar didn’t have the pace of those around him but he battled well to hold on to a top five finish given his lack of pace. Clément Novalak fought his way through to second for Trident as Caio Collet scored a podium on his F3 debut with MP Motorsport.
Logan Sargeant of Charouz also passed the Red Bull backed Carlin driver but all of the top five will be fairly happy with their results in the season’s first race.
The PREMA cars started further down the order after their good qualifying and it was Olli Caldwell who looked most comfortable as he finished sixth after some very exciting midfield racing and good, clean overtakes.
Dennis Hauger, who took pole for Sunday’s main race yesterday, was eighth after his intriguing battle with former PREMA man Frederik Vesti was cut short by the safety car.
David Schumacher had been the cork in the bottle for many as the German struggled to find any pace. He was also passed by Victor Martins and Matteo Nannini who rounded out the points finishes in ninth and tenth respectively.
Schumacher survived in 11th which gives him a front row start for this afternoon’s second race with Enzo Fittipaldi battling through to 12th and reverse grid pole for Charouz.
Arthur Leclerc was right in the fight for that reverse grid pole but he had to pit late on with a left rear puncture.
|1||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART||21 Laps|
|3||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||+1.951|
|9||Victor Martins||MP Motorsport||+4.120|
|10||Matteo Nannini||HWA Racelab||+4.543|
|13||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||+5.716|
|14||Ayumu Iwasa||Hitech GP||+6.232|
|15||Juan Manuel Correa||ART||+7.210|
|16||Roman Stanek||Hitech GP||+7.754|
|19||Rafael Villagomez||HWA Racelab||+11.270|
|20||Reshad De Gerus||Charouz||+11.864|
|21||Tijmen van der Helm||MP Motorsport||+13.444|
|30||Oliver Rasmussen||HWA Racelab||DNF (Crash)|