Barcelona F3: ART's Smolyar scores maiden win in season opener
ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Smolyar won the first FIA Formula 3 race of the season in Spain, which ended under a safety car.
The Russian driver, who started second, took the lead from Carlin’s Jonny Edgar on the fourth lap of 22 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, snatching the spot with DRS at Turn 1 after a tight battle in the first few laps.
It was only his second podium in the category, taking the top step and giving him 15 points, with an added two bonus points for the fastest lap
Trident’s Clement Novalak finished in second in his second-ever podium finish, taking 12 points, and MP Motorsport’s rookie Caio Collet took third on his debut, giving him 10 points.
Charouz Racing System’s Logan Sargeant, the highest placed returning driver from last year, finished in fourth, while Carlin’s Jonny Edgar, who started on pole, finished in fifth.
The safety car was deployed on lap 19 after the HWA Racelab of Oliver Rasmussen ended up in the gravel.
Smolyar had broken the DRS train by lap eight, giving him more than 1.5 seconds on Edgar in second place and extending that lead to more than two seconds by the 12th lap.
Carlin’s Ido Cohen’s car ground to a halt on the track during the formation lap, forcing the start to be aborted and inducing another formation lap for the other 29 drivers while he was towed back to the pitlane.
Despite Edgar having a great getaway and remaining in first for the initial few laps, he dropped down to fourth by the 16th lap as his tyres wore away, before being overtaken Sargeant the following lap.
The Premas charged through the middle of the field during the opening lap, but only managed a best of P6 for Olli Caldwell, with Dennis Hauger, who will be on pole tomorrow, in P8.
Arthur Leclerc was forced to pit on lap 14 after a rear left puncture, dropping him down the running order to 29th – second to last – before finishing in 28th.
Trident’s Jack Doohan, who qualified P2 yesterday, meaning he started P11 in this race, dropped down the order to 19th during the first lap but eventually finished 17th.
The top 12 of this morning’s race is reversed to form the grid for this afternoon’s race, with Charouz’s Enzo Fittipaldi starting on pole.
Trident’s David Schumacher will start second, with HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini and MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins on the second row.
Barcelona F3: Hauger snatches late pole from Doohan
Barcelona F3: Caldwell victorious as leaders tangle twice in Race 2