“FIA F3: Blomqvist takes victory in shortened race”
Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Tom Blomqvist took his sixth victory of the FIA European F3 season in a slightly shortened race at the Hockenheimring today.
The 20-year-old led every lap of the race at the German circuit, followed by teammate Antonio Giovinazzi and Lucas Auer.
The race was red flagged on the final lap when Antonio Fuoco clattered Jake Dennis from behind in the Mercedes corner in what can be best described an ambitious move by the Italian teenager.
Blomqvist made the win look easy. While the Carlin man escaped from the grid, Auer edged Giovinazzi for 2nd into turn one; however having taken one Carlin driver, the Austrian had no answer for Blomqvist’s pace.
After five laps, Blomqvist had already built a lead of just under two seconds; however a brief safety car to clear debris from Michele Beretta’s damaged EuroInternational car neutralised preceding’s for a time.
Once restarted, Blomqvist simply pulled away again and had built a gap of four seconds when the race was halted. On countback, Blomqvist held a 3.9s gap to Giovinazzi, with Auer 1.38s further in arrears.
As Blomqvist’s rival for 2nd in the championship, Max Verstappen, could do no better than 5th place in the race, Blomqvist enters into tomorrow’s finale with a two-point advantage.
Giovinazzi’s runner-up finish solidified 6th in the championship standings for the Italian. The 20-year-old had settled into 3rd place when Auer’s Mücke machine locked into third gear on the approach into the hairpin four laps from the end.
The resultant lock sent Auer into the tarmac run off area and while he escaped, he could do nothing to stop Giovinazzi reclaiming 2nd place. The issue topped off another frustrating day for Auer, who had suffered a similar transmission problem on several occasions during the weekend.
Series champion Esteban Ocon came home 4th following a reasonably quiet race for Prema Powerteam. The French teenager took Felix Rosenqvist for 5th at the start and then passed Jordan King on the third lap, but could progress no further than that.
Unusually, Max Verstappen drove a mostly subdued race to 5th. Having started 9th, the Dutch teen grabbed two places off the line, only to be brilliantly repassed by Tatiana Calderon in the Mercedes section on the 2nd tour.
It was not for long though. Within two laps, Verstappen had taken Calderon again, before passing King, who had suffered a damaged front wing while battling with Ocon just prior to the safety car. Thereafter, Verstappen settled into something of a lonely 5th place, where he neither threatened nor was threatened.
Rosenqvist finished 6th having also passed Calderon on lap four. The Swede briefly challenged Verstappen for the top five following the safety car routine, but never truly looked like making a move.
Roy Nissany drove a solid race to take 7th. The Israelite made several places at the start and passed Calderon on lap five, while Calderon stayed close to the Mücke man to assume 8th.
Gustavo Menezes ended the day in 9th, ahead of Dennis van de Laar who rose to 10th place to score the final point.
Spike Goddard drove an ‘interesting’ race. The Australian used the rear of Beretta’s car as a break in the Stadium section on lap four, which eventually brought out the safety car and on lap eleven, he suffered a lazy spin in the stadium ensuring a finish near the back.
Sean Gelael rammed the rear of Fuoco on the opening lap, pitching the latter in a spin. The Italian had risen to 13th – which included a fabulous brief tussle with Santino Ferrucci – when he collided clumsily with Dennis. Ed Jones, meanwhile, received a penalty for a jump-start, while Stefano Coletti picked up a drive through penalty for repeatedly breaching track limits. The Monegasque racer pulled into the pits simply to retire.