Prema Powerteam’s Raffaele Marciello claimed the Grand Prix de Pau in an emphatic style in the southern French town this afternoon.
Following in the footsteps of Tazio Nuvolari and Alberto Ascari, the Italian soared to a victory, untouched by threats from fellow podium sitters Carlos Sainz Jr and Jazeman Jaafar.
Marciello built a gap of 14.3 seconds to Sainz Jr, but lost much of that amidst lapped traffic. Undeterred, the Ferrari junior racer spread his wings once again, extending his lead to 13.1 seconds as he took the chequered flag.
While Sainz Jr and Jaafar fought in the distance, Marciello proved imperious out front, as he took the 71st Grand Prix de Pau.
“It’s fantastic, because the car was perfect. Forty minutes is a very long race, but I make the car last very easily – it was very good. It was difficult with the tyres, because [last night] it rained, so after six laps, I had a little problem with the tyres, but it was not too big.
“[Concentration] was very difficult … when you’re over ten seconds ahead of the next guy, […] you don’t push the limit, so you relax and can make an error.”
Although Sainz Jr ended the day 2nd overall, the Spaniard was classed the top British F3 runner. It is a result that gives the Carlin racer the top spot in both the British F3 Series and the FIA European F3 Championship.
Sainz Jr had more than just Jaafar to contend with though – for much of the race, the Spaniard held off a train of up to nine cars, but the Carlin man played a canny game to keep 2nd spot, as others began to fall away.
“I am happy because obviously to win the British Formula 3 race is good, and to be leading the championship – it’s a really good start to the season. But in particular with this race I am not so happy – the Prema guys were so much faster and we were struggling to find grip; it’s a lesson that we must learn from.”
Jaafar, too, was feeling the pressure – this time from Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam). The 2011 Macau Grand Prix winner ducked and dived around Jaafar’s mirrors, but the Mercedes-powered racer could do nothing to get by the Malaysian. Unsurprisingly, Jaafar was disappointed to not make it two class wins over the course of the weekend.
“It was a very tough race, one of the toughest I have done. I was chasing Carlos and really wanting that second place and the British F3 win, but at the same time I had Dani behind me the whole race and he’s so quick. It was hard to manage the situation for 40 minutes.”
Come the line, the trio would only be split by 1.061 seconds – in fact, the gap was rarely ever larger than that.
Pipo Derani took 5th for Fortec. The Brazilian spent much of the race in a frustrating 6th place, only to pounce on Felix Rosenqvist’s sole mistake 25 laps in. Rosenqvist refused to give in and – like Juncadella – proceeded to show his face in Derani’s eyeline, hoping desperately for an error, but none came.
It was a disappointment, of course, for Rosenqvist, yet the Mücke Motorsport racer can take some pleasure from a stunning start that saw him jump from 9th to 5th…
Alex Lynn stuck to Derani’s wheel tracks early on, but lost sight of the Brazilian once he had jumped Rosenqvist. It was the same story for both Jack Harvey (Carlin, 8th) and Pascal Wehrlein (Mücke Motorsport, 9th) who struggled to make an impression on Lynn.
Prema Powerteam’s Sven Muller rounded out the top ten just ahead of teammate Michael Lewis, ensuring that the gap from 2nd to 11th was a mere 8.73 seconds.
It was not all plain sailing amongst the pack. Harry Tincknell (Carlin), Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec) and Andrea Roda (Jo Zeller Team) all ended their Pau adventures in the barriers, while both Geoff Uhrhane and Felix Serralles suffered early punctures.
Tom Blomqvist (ma-con Motorsport) also pitted to repair damage, as did Spike Goddard (T-Sport) who early race troubles handed the National Class win to Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee.
FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 2, May 13th, 33 laps) [also British F3 Series (Rd 3, Race 2)] Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 40m02.512s 2. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.129s 3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.817s 4. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 14.190s 5. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc + 15.797s 6. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc + 16.500s 7. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Merc + 17.510s 8. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 19.062s 9. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Dallara-Merc + 19.835s 10. Sven Muller Prema Dallara-Merc + 20.939s 11. Michael Lewis Prema Dallara-Merc + 21.861s 12. Pietro Fantin Carlin Dallara-VW + 34.069s 13. Emil Bernstorff ma-con Dallara-VW + 37.861s 14. Nick McBride T-Sport Dallara-Nissan + 54.307s 15. Fahmi Ilyas Double R Dallara-Merc + 57.908s 16. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc + 1 lap 17. Duvashen Padayachee Double R Dallara-Mugen + 1 lap 18. Geoff Uhrhane Double R Dallara-Merc + 1 lap 19. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc + 2 laps 20. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Mugen + 2 laps 21. Tom Blomqvist ma-con Dallara-VW + 2 laps Retirements: Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec Dallara-Merc 13 laps Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 9 laps Andrea Roda Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1 lap FIA European Formula 3 Championship standings (Rd 2, Race 2) Pos Driver Points 1. Daniel Juncadella 62 points 2. Carlos Sainz Jr 62 3. Raffaele Marciello 58 4. Felix Rosenqvist 50 5. William Buller 20 6. Sven Muller 11 7. Tom Blomqvist 6 8. Pascal Wehrlein 6 9. Lucas Wolf 4 10. Michael Lewis 3 British Formula 3 Series standings (Rd 3, Race 2) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Carlos Sainz 104 points 2. Jazeman Jaafar 101 3. Jack Harvey 83 4. Felix Serralles 73 5. Alex Lynn 64 6. Pipo Derani 61 7. Harry Tincknell 48 8. Pietro Fantin 48 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 25 10. Nick McBride 24 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Spike Goddard 141 2. Duvashen Padayachee 102