Barcelona F3: Caldwell victorious as leaders tangle twice in Race 2

Prema Racing’s Olli Caldwell took his first FIA Formula 3 win in Barcelona after a chaotic race that saw two lead battles end in controversial clashes.

Barcelona F3: Caldwell victorious as leaders tangle twice in Race 2

After starting seventh, the Brit took a breakthrough win after two separate battles for the lead, first involving Trident’s David Schumacher and Charouz Racing System’s Enzo Fittipaldi, followed by HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini and Caldwell’s team-mate Dennis Hauger, resulted in contact.

Caldwell had been close to the front of the pack throughout the race and inherited the lead in the final laps after Nannini and Hauger collided while fighting over the lead. 

MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins took second, his first podium in F3, while ART GP’s Frederik Vesti came in third, his first podium since taking the top step in the first race at last season’s finale in Mugello with old team Prema.

Trident’s Clement Novalak finished fourth, his best result since last year’s race in Barcelona, with Martins’ team-mate and fellow Alpine Academy member Caio Collet completing the top five on his first race weekend since graduating from Formula Renault Eurocup.

ART GP’s Juan Manuel Correa, returning to the sport 18 months after surviving a tragic multiple car Formula 2 crash at Spa in 2019 that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert, scored a point in only his second race back behind the wheel, finishing tenth.

The first safety car came out on the first lap after contact between Novalak and ART’s Alex Smolyar at Turn 2 resulted in the latter receiving a rear-right puncture, veering right and collecting Charouz Racing's Logan Sargeant on his way into the gravel.

Racing resumed on lap 4, with Fittipaldi maintaining his lead, while further back there was a battle for fourth between Martins, Hauger and Caldwell.

Fittipaldi had led the race until the lap 12, when Schumacher took him by surprise with a late braking move.

But just three laps later, the pair collided in a tussle for the lead, with Fittipaldi nudging his rival to the right, where he bounced over the kerb and across the gravel into the barrier.

This gave Nannini the lead, with Hauger second and Fittipaldi dropping to third before the safety car was deployed for a second time.

But Fittipaldi ground to a halt behind the safety car, ending his race promoting Hauger to second and Caldwell to third before racing resumed on lap 17.

Another tussle for the lead ensued and Nannini and Hauger collided, with both drivers losing their front wings and plummeting down the order and leaving Caldwell to take the lead and the subsequent win.

Arthur Leclerc finished 12th after storming through the field having started 28th, following a puncture in Race 1 on Saturday morning.

The third race of the weekend takes place on Sunday morning, with the grid having been decided by Friday’s qualifying session.

Hauger starts on pole, with Trident’s Jack Doohan in second and Martins in third. Nannini lines up fourth, with Vesti in fifth and Caldwell sixth.

UPDATE - Stewards elected to issue Hauger and Leclerc 10 second post-race time penalties for incidents during Race 2.

Officials determined that Hauger was wholly responsible for contact with Nannini while fighting for the lead, which resulted in the pair suffering damage to their cars. The penalty however sees Hauger remain in 25th position.

Meanwhile, Hauger’s Prema team-mate Leclerc was adjudged to have breached regulations under safety car conditions.

After studying data evidence, the Stewards found that the Monegasque exceeded the minimum delta time in four consecutive marshalling sectors under Safety Car conditions on Lap 16.

With the penalty applied, Leclerc drops from 12th to 24th.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Olli Caldwell Italy Prema Powerteam 22 40'42.623    
2 France Victor Martins Netherlands MP Motorsport 22 40'43.528 0.905 0.905
3 Denmark Frederik Vesti France ART Grand Prix 22 40'45.481 2.858 1.953
4 United Kingdom Clement Novalak Italy Trident 22 40'46.365 3.742 0.884
5 Caio Collet Netherlands MP Motorsport 22 40'46.602 3.979 0.237
6 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar United Kingdom Carlin 22 40'47.145 4.522 0.543
7 Ayumu Iwasa United Kingdom HitechGP 22 40'47.631 5.008 0.486
8 Australia Jack Doohan Italy Trident 22 40'48.134 5.511 0.503
9 Jak Crawford United Kingdom HitechGP 22 40'48.491 5.868 0.357
10 United States Juan Manuel Correa France ART Grand Prix 22 40'49.090 6.467 0.599
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