Arthur Leclerc survived two safety car periods to take his first FIA Formula 3 Championship win of 2022 in the Feature Race at Silverstone, in a race full of drama.
Two British drivers completed the podium in a popular result for the home crowd.
Zak O’Sullivan started on pole, ahead of Leclerc and Zane Maloney.
Everyone kept it clean through the first few corners, with Arthur Leclerc swooping around the outside of O’Sullivan at Stowe as the safety car was scrambled for Franco Colapinto‘s crash at Luffield, while Maloney ran across the grass after contact with Oliver Bearman.
Juan Manuel Correa pitted to retire at the end of Lap 2, with William Alatalo boxing for a new front wing under the safety car.
Leclerc gave the place back to O’Sullivan just before the safety car period ended, the Ferrari Driver Academy and Williams Driver Academy prospects switching positions.
O’Sullivan got the jump on the field from the restart, looking to use the pace that took him to pole in Qualifying, while Kush Maini ran wide at Aintree and lost several places.
Kaylen Frederick had a look down the inside of Sprint Race winner Isack Hadjar on Lap 4, but couldn’t make the move and soon had to defend from Jonny Edgar, who returns to Trident this weekend after illness.
Leclerc set the fastest lap for the second lap in a row, as DRS was enabled two laps after the safety car, and made the move for the lead into Brooklands at the first opportunity, finishing it off into Luffield.
The stewards noted the Lap 1 incident between Bearman and Maloney, the latter working to move back through the order. The Barbadian driver ran P19 at the end of Lap 7.
The two Red Bull-liveried cars of Hadjar (Hitech GP) and Jak Crawford (Prema Racing) collided at Abbey, though both seemed to avoid any lasting ill-effects.
The stewards reviewed the incident and deemed no further action necessary.
Meanwhile, Leclerc had begun to pull away as Hunter Yeany dropped down the order after a spin on the exit of Club. He was able to rejoin, though.
Gregoire Saucy and Roman Stanek collided at Brooklands, with David Vidales having to take avoiding action and rejoining at Luffield.
Saucy then pitted with front-wing damage, soon joined by Stanek.
Kush Maini, who had topped Practice, fell out of the top 20 as the safety car was brought out again for Rafael Villagomez‘ crash at Copse on Lap 11. The Mexican was able to get out under his own power, after losing his front wing amid contact with Nazim Azman.
The second safety car period wiped out the gap Leclerc had been building, and gave O’Sullivan, Collet et al the chance to take the lead.
The entire top four at half-distance were winless until Sunday at Silverstone, and began looking for opportunities again as the now-25 car field got racing again on Lap 15.
Edgar enjoyed a stunning first half of the race, moving up from P14 to sixth place by the second restart.
Victor Martins got past Kaylen Frederick at Village from the restart, sending it down the inside and finishing it off at The Loop.
Leclerc set a new fastest lap straight from the restart, looking to rebuild the gap to O’Sullivan he lost during the safety car period.
Martins then tried to get past Crawford both at Stowe and Vale, but couldn’t make either move stick and invited Frederick and Vidales into the battle for P7.
Vidales managed to get around the outside of Frederick at Village, as the recovering Zane Maloney latched onto the back of the fight.
Ollie Bearman had got involved in the battle for the podium places, as he, Collet, O’Sullivan and Leclerc ran line astern on Lap 18.
Crawford got around the outside of Jonny Edgar at Stowe on Lap 19, just after O’Sullivan had a look at Leclerc in the same place.
The 2021 GB3 champion was crawling all over the back of Leclerc entering the final two laps, as Bearman got around the outside of Collet to take third place on the penultimate tour.
The Prema driver started applying the pressure to O’Sullivan, the pair having raced each other at Silverstone just 11 months ago, and looked down the inside into Stowe.
O’Sullivan left him room, the pair touched exiting Club but both survived, O’Sullivan running off-track on the exit of the final corner.
Leclerc took his first win of the season unchallenged in the end, with O’Sullivan second and Bearman narrowly having to settle for third, his second podium of the year.
FIA Formula 3 Silverstone Feature Race Results:
|1||4||Arthur Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||22 laps|
|3||6||Oliver Bearman||GBR||Prema Racing||+0.9s|
|4||10||Caio Collet||BRA||MP Motorsport||+1.2s|
|5||18||Isack Hadjar||FRA||Hitech GP||+1.6s|
|6||5||Jak Crawford||USA||Prema Racing||+2.3s|
|7||7||Victor Martins||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+4.0s|
|9||20||David Vidales||SPA||Campos Racing||+5.8s|
|10||31||Reece Ushijima||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+6.6s|
|12||17||Kaylen Frederick||USA||Hitech GP||+9.8s|
|13||24||Federico Malvestiti||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||+14.3s|
|14||16||Francesco Pizzi||ITA||Charouz Racing System||+15.0s|
|15||23||Ido Cohen||ISR||Jenzer Motorsport||+15.5s|
|16||25||William Alatalo||FIN||Jenzer Motorsport||+16.5s|
|19||11||Filip Ugran||ROM||MP Motorsport||+17.9s|
|20||12||Kush Maini||IND||MP Motorsport||+20.1s|
|21||21||Hunter Yeany||USA||Campos Racing||+20.4s|
|22||14||Laszlo Toth||HUN||Charouz Racing System||+24.3s|
|23||8||Gregoire Saucy||SUI||ART Grand Prix||+27.3s|
|24||22||Pepe Marti||SPA||Campos Racing||+29.4s|
|25||15||Zdenek Chovanec||VEN||Charouz Racing System||+30.1s|
|26||19||Nazim Azman||MAL||Hitech GP||DNF (damage)|
|27||30||Rafael Villagomez||MEX||Van Amersfoort Racing||DNF (crash)|
|28||2||Roman Stanek||CZE||Trident||DNF (damage)|
|29||9||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||ART Grand Prix||DNF|
|30||29||Franco Colapinto||ARG||Van Amersfoort Racing||DNF (crash)|