The FIA European F3 series got off to a good season start with a thrilling race with plenty of position fights.
At the 5.739 kilometres long track in the royal park of Monza, 30 drivers started into the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season opener. After 19 laps, Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) turned out to be the best of them, winning with a margin of 2.079 seconds from Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam). Pascal Wehrlein (kfzteile 24 Mücke Motorsport) rounded out the winners’ podium after a thrilling race with plenty of position fights.
Raffaele Marciello, a protégé of the Ferrari Driver Academy, already made the deciding manoeuvre at the start when he pipped pole-sitter Wehrlein in the run to the first chicane. After that, the Italian drove an undisputed lights-to-flag victory home. His team-mate Lucas Auer was not able to put any decisive pressure on him in the second half of the race. Auer had overtaken Wehrlein on lap ten and eventually hailed a second-place finish ahead of Pascal Wehrlein.
William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport) was rewarded for his spirited drive with fourth place from Harry Tincknell (Carlin), having started twelfth with his ThreeBond-Nissan powered car. Jordan King (Carlin) had an entertaining battle with Félix Serrallés (Fortec Motorsports) for a major part of the race, the seasoned Fortec driver only just prevailing against the Formula 3 novice.
For a long time, the group with Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport), Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam) and Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsports) provided great entertainment with countless overtaking manoeuvres. Eventually, a collision forced both Wolf and Mardenborough to retire. Gilbert was also sidelined due to a puncture. Cheever and Derani finished tenth and eleventh behind Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam) and Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing).
Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) looked set for a top ten result for many laps, until the Brit tapped his rival Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) into a spin and was given a drive-through penalty. The son of legendary rally driver Stig Blomqvist finished behind Sven Müller (ma-con) in 13th place, Swedish driver Rosenqvist retired.
Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) “Starting the season with a victory in my home race is great. My start was very good and I was able to pull a one second gap quickly. That was important, because nobody could use my slipstream like that. My car was consistently good throughout the race.”
Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam) “My car was great, but it had already been like that in qualifying. Therefore, I was faster than Pascal in the race and I was able to overtake him halfway through the race. I couldn’t close the gap to Raffaele, but second place is a good result as well, I am quite happy with it.”
Pascal Wehrlein (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) “The two Prema guys in front of me had a great speed, which I wasn’t able to match. After then laps, I let Lucas past. I had hoped to stay in his slipstream, in order to maybe attack him again at the end. Moreover, I wanted to prevent others from closing up in case we would have become involved in a long battle. Third place is okay, but now, we have to try and improve the car.”
FIA Formula 3 European Championship