Leclerc wins Spa thriller as Rosenqvist and Giovinazzi clash

Charles Leclerc took his third European Formula 3 win of the season in an exhilarating opening race at Spa, taking advantage of contact between Felix Rosenqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi.

It was the Italian who led at the start after a lightning getaway from third on the grid allowed him to overhaul Rosenqvist and Jake Dennis on the run down to La Source.

But Giovinazzi’s lead proved short-lived, as Rosenqvist was able to slipstream his way back into the top spot along the Kemmel straight on the second lap.

Two laps later, Leclerc had passed Dennis for third position, the lead battle soon becoming a three-way affair between the Monegasque rookie, Rosenqvist and Giovinazzi, who found his way back into the lead with a breathtaking outside pass on the Swede at Les Combes just short of half-distance.

With three laps to go, the top three were split by just a second, Rosenqvist going on the attack once more at Les Combes. But as the Prema driver looked to the outside for an opening, he was edged out wide by Giovinazzi, light contact being made between the pair.

As Rosenqvist was forced down the escape road, rejoining behind Leclerc, Giovinazzi ground to a halt shortly after having sustained a left-rear puncture.

That left Leclerc with a clear road ahead to secure his third win of the season, and take the lead of the championship away from a dejected Giovinazzi in the process, with Rosenqvist moving within four points of the Carlin driver in the battle for second.

Giovinazzi’s demise meant the final spot on the podium was filled by Alex Albon, who from seventh on the grid quickly moved up to fifth with clean passes on Pietro Fittipaldi and Brandon Maisano before catching and overtaking Dennis in the closing stages.

The Brit also found himself demoted by Santino Ferrucci shortly after, the American equalling his best result of the year in fourth, with Dennis holding on for fifth ahead of compatriot George Russell, race two polesitter Mikkel Jensen and Fittipaldi.

Fabian Schiller and Alessio Lorandi, who made up two places on the final lap, completed the top 10, with Maisano, despite running as high as fifth early on, struggling for pace and slipping down to 15th by the chequered flag.

It was also a race to forget for Lance Stroll, who was brought in for a drive-through penalty after forcing another driver off the road on the opening lap and was then made to serve a 10-second stop-and-go for tagging Tatiana Calderon into a spin at Rivage.

Race results:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing 35'35.057
Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam 1.511
Alexander Albon Signature 2.651
Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport 3.938
Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam 6.460
George Russell Carlin 7.388
Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport 15.550
Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec 18.333
Fabian Schiller West-Tec 20.096
10  Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing 22.600
11  Ryan Tveter Carlin 23.133
12  Sam MacLeod Motopark 23.667
13  Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport 24.220
14  Callum Ilott Carlin 30.581
15  Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam 30.735
16  Sergio Sette Camara Motopark 33.597
17  Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing 34.095
18  Dorian Boccolacci Signature 34.417
19  Markus Pommer Motopark 38.648
20  Martin Cao Fortec 43.779
21  Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport 44.009
22  Gustavo Menezes Carlin 45.230
23  Matt Rao Fortec 47.351
24  Nabil Jeffri Motopark 49.410
25  Tatiana Calderon Carlin 49.958
26  Kang Ling Mucke Motorsport 50.846
27  Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing 53.833
28  Julio Moreno T-Sport 54.500
29  Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark 1'21.234
30  Raoul Hyman West-Tec 1'25.728
31  Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam 1'31.946
Ret  Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin
Ret  Matthew Solomon Double R Racing
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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Felix Rosenqvist , Antonio Giovinazzi , Santino Ferrucci , Charles Leclerc , Alexander Albon
Article type Race report