Dennis holds off Leclerc for final Spa win as Calderon stars

Jake Dennis clinched a second successive European Formula 3 win in the damp at Spa, hanging on from Charles Leclerc at the end of an eventful race led at one stage by Tatiana Calderon.

Leading the early stages was Mikkel Jensen, beating polesitter Dennis off the line at the start, with Markus Pommer and Sergio Sette Camara slotting in behind - although the Brazilian would fall down the order after serving a drive-through penalty for a clash with Dorian Boccolacci at Les Combes.

That promoted Leclerc to fourth by the time of an early safety car ahead of Calderon, the undoubted star of the first part of the race, who made the best use of her wet tyres to scythe her way through the order from a lowly 27th on the starting grid to fifth place.

When proceedings resumed, the lightest of contact between Jensen and Dennis as the pair battled for the lead at Les Combes was enough to put the Danish driver into the barriers, giving Dennis the lead.

But the Brit would soon found himself powerless to resist an inspired Calderon in the wetter parts of the circuit, as the Colombian became the first female leader of a European F3 race.

Dennis and Calderon exchanged the lead several more times, Dennis able to make up ground where the track was not as wet, and finally made the decisive pass approaching Les Combes as it became clear that Calderon’s strategy would not pay dividends with the track drying out.

The 22-year-old gamely fought on for several more laps before biting the bullet and pitting for slicks, by which time Leclerc, Pommer, Felix Rosenqvist, Callum Ilott and Antonio Giovinazzi had all passed.

That left the lead battle as a head-to-head between Dennis and Leclerc, while in the battle for third, Pommer tipped Rosenqvist into a spin at La Source in a move that earned the German, already with a drive-through penalty for an earlier clash with the Swede, a black flag.

Despite having his advantage reduced by Leclerc to just eight tenths of a second at the chequered flag, Dennis was able to hang on for a second successive win and a fourth of the season.

With Antonio Giovinazzi getting a black-and-orange flag for a loose front wing in the closing laps, the battle for third was between Carlin teammates Ilott and George Russell, who took the place when the Red Bull junior ran wide at Les Combes.

Rosenqvist recovered from being assailed by Pommer to clinch fifth, ahead of Prema teammate Brandon Maisano, with Alessio Lorandi, Maximilian Gunther, Alex Albon and Pietro Fittipaldi all keeping out of trouble to complete the top 10 finishers.

Giovinazzi finished down in 15th place, three places ahead of fellow Carlin driver Calderon, whose 18th place was scant reward for her earlier efforts.

Race results:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam 35'15.713
Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing 0.885
George Russell Carlin 7.198
Callum Ilott Carlin 9.535
Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam 11.450
Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam 22.025
Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing 23.020
Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport 23.605
Alexander Albon Signature 24.000
10  Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec 25.376
11  Sam MacLeod Motopark 26.208
12  Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport 27.520
13  Dorian Boccolacci Signature 31.289
14  Ryan Tveter Carlin 35.380
15  Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin 42.488
16  Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing 45.571
17  Martin Cao Fortec 45.663
18  Tatiana Calderon Carlin 1'01.722
19  Julio Moreno T-Sport 1'21.399
20  Kang Ling Mucke Motorsport 1'21.436
21  Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport 1'27.808
22  Sergio Sette Camara Motopark 1'53.710
23  Nabil Jeffri Motopark 2'00.442
24  Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark 2'11.271
25  Matthew Solomon Double R Racing 2 laps
DQ Markus Pommer Motopark  
Ret Fabian Schiller West-Tec  
Ret Matt Rao Fortec  
 Ret Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport  
Ret Raoul Hyman West-Tec  
Ret Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing  

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Tatiana Calderon , Felix Rosenqvist , Jake Dennis , George Russell , Charles Leclerc
Teams Prema Powerteam
Article type Race report