FIA F3 European Championship - Round 22, RedBull Ring, Austria
At the RedBull Ring this morning Tom Blomqvist’s luck finally changed, the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver coming home to head a Carlin 1-2-3, from Antonio Giovinazzi (in another of the Indonesian sponsored cars) and Jake Dennis in one of the “normal” Carlin cars. The winner's luck certainly came into play early on, when Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), starting from the front row, clashed going into the first corner, Verstappen running wide and hitting Ocon. Ocon speared off towards the barriers while Verstappen was luck to only lose a handful of places to end up 6th, letting Blomqvist through into the lead.
Ocon was able to get going again, but was a long way back with a lot of work to do. The officials investigated the incident, but apparently concluded it was a racing incident. Some people weren’t so sure, but that was that and no penalty was applied to either driver. Whatever the cause, it at least meant a new leader for the first time in an age, with Blomqvist happy to take advantage of the lead pair’s misfortune, and Giovinazzi now busy fending off Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) for 2nd, the Swede having rocketed up from 8th in the first lap melee, at the expense of Jordan King (Carlin) among others.
As Verstappen and Ocon both set about trying to recover from the incident, things were getting quite heated in the pack too. King had spent some time looking for a way past Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam) to claim 7th while Dennis was now on Rosenqvist’s tail, which was preventing the Swede really getting to grips with Giovinazzi, and it was all looking a bit lively. It got livelier when Verstappen made a pass on Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) for 5th, and went very, very wide, a move which would cost him in the long run. Given the state of his car’s suspension (a somewhat mangled track rod had resulted from the first corner fracas) it was something of a miracle he could drive the thing at all actually, but he was through and setting off in pursuit of Dennis next.
Ed Jones (Carlin) meanwhile had pitted from the mid-field having an annoying case of sticking gears. The lads set to work but the returnee was in the pits for a very long time as they tried to sort him out. And all the while the race was continuing without him. And it was quite a race… With Rosenqvist preoccupied with Dennis, Blomqvist and Giovinazzi were pulling away and had opened the gap to over three seconds. It didn’t stop them fighting with each other though, and the Italian was all over the back of his team mate as they tussled for the lead.
In fact Giovinazzi did manage to get ahead for a brief while, but Blomqvist took it back again, determined that this race was his, at least if he had any say in the matter. It was definitely between the two of them though as the battle for 3rd had taken a further turn, with Verstappen now caught up in it as well, putting pressure on Dennis, who now started looking in earnest for a way past Rosenqvist. Unfortunately for him, the result of the attempt was contact with the Swede and a loss of places to Verstappen instead, the pair of them ending up behind the Dutchman, Dennis still behind the Mücke car!
The pair didn’t seem the slightest discouraged and continued to scrap, now being joined by Fuoco as the fight for 3rd became the fight for 4th and Verstappen opened up some distance between himself and them. They seemed in fact determined to take the fight to the wire. Blomqvist, on the other hand, did not and finally managed to break the tow Giovinazzi had, eventually opening a moderate gap to his team-mate as he powered round the Austrian circuit.
The top ten was still in a state of flux, which was made even more fluid when Latifi collided with Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing) and launched the unfortunate Dutchman, putting both of them out of the race, Szymkowiak immediately and Latifi a lap later as he limped into retirement. The Canadian would be awarded a five grid place penalty for Race 2 as a result of what was considered to be an avoidable collision. King was lucky to avoid them…
Ahead of this spectacular exit Dennis finally got the drop on Rosenqvist to claim 4th, but could do nothing about Verstappen, while Fuoco had now fallen away as he was under attack from King and Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing), the two of them trading places as they both looked to find a way past the Italian teenager for 5th. It was all very entertaining for the spectators, even if it might not have been for the participants! It was only resolved on the last lap when King lost ground and places, ending up 9th behind Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing).
And just for good measure, Verstappen was closing on Giovinazzi at a rapid pace, a charge that only stopped when Giovinazzi responded and speeded up again, while Blomqvist coasted home to his fourth victory of the season, a good 4 seconds clear of Giovinazzi’s sister car. Verstappen finished 3rd on the road but his move on Fuoco was deemed to have exceeded the track limits, which earned him a five second penalty that dropped him back behind Dennis and Rosenqvist, but left him ahead of Fuoco, arguably the aggrieved party in all of this. Menezes came home in 7th, from van der Laar, King and Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) who recovered from a five grid place penalty carried over from Moscow to round out the top ten at his home event.
11th was Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) from Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), the recovering Ocon, Felix Serralles (Team West-TecF3), Tatiana Calderon (Jo Zeller Racing), Hector Hurst (Team West-TecF3), Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing), Alfonso Celis (Fortec Motorsports) and John Bryant-Meisner (Fortec Motorsports). The last two finishers were Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Michele Beretta (Eurointernational).
Fastest lap this time out went to Giovinazzi.
Race 1 Amended Result:
1st – No. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 24 laps, 34:22.248
2nd – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 4.089
3rd – No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 11.750
4th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 13.187
5th – No. 30, Max Verstappen*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 13.671**
6th – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 15.652
7th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 16.416
8th – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NLD, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 20.375
9th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 20.970
10th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 21.531
11th – No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 27.718
12th – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, gap 28.487
13th – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 29.038
14th – No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 31.778
15th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 32.544
16th – No. 22, Hector Hurst, GBR, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 43.387
17th – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, gap 43.788
18th – No. 17, Sandro Zeller, SWI, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 45.608
19th – No. 9, Alfonso Celis, MEX, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 46.950
20th – No. 10, John Bryant Meisner, SWE, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 49.174
21st – No. 11, Richard Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, gap 53.067
22nd – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, gap 1:05.641
No. 29, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, lap 20
No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, lap 18
No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, lap 15
No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NLD, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, lap 14
No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:23:313, lap 9, 113.429mph, 182.547kph
**5 second penalty