George Russell took his first FIA European Formula 3 championship victory at Silverstone today in what was only his 2nd race.
An aggressive start by the Carlin man opened up a gap into Abbey corner, while pole Charles Leclerc fell to 3rd, as Antonio Giovinazzi slotted into 2nd place.
The trio momentarily banged wheels as they fed from Abbey down toward the Arena bend, but as the opening turns unraveled, Russell led from Leclerc and Giovinazzi – the latter having lost ground in the entry onto the Wellington Straight.
Russell could not pull away immediately – a tangle between Sam Macleod, Sérgio Sette, Tatiana Calderon and Michele Beretta just after the Arena turn brought out the safety car for three laps.
Although the incident itself was not too serious, the nature of tangled carbon fibre rendered the clean up longer than was probably expected.
From the lap four green lap, Russell led again from Leclerc, but the Briton’s gap was pegged from 0.7s-1.3s for much of the running. It was not until the 13th lap that Russell began to stretch his legs – just as Leclerc began to struggle on his ageing Hankook tyres.
Thereafter, Russell managed the lead to Leclerc, taking victory at only the 2nd time of asking.
Giovinazzi could not hold onto the leading pair following the safety car period. The Italian discovered soon after his turn one clash that his Jagonya Ayam Carlin machine was slightly damaged, but not so dented that he lost dramatic amounts of time.
Lance Stroll pressed Giovinazzi for a portion of the race, but could do little to get around the experienced Carlin man as the effects of dirty air began to ripple over the front of his Prema Powerteam Mercedes entry.
Brandon Maïsano assumed 5th ahead of the impressive Alexander Albon (6th), but the real star of the race was Felix Rosenqvist. Having won race one, the Swede was forced to start 35th and last for today’s race and climbed to 7th position by the end of 18 laps, with the Prema Powerteam man spending much of the event passing car after car after car.
His progress halted when he took 7th on from the battling Pietro Fittipaldi and Fabian Schiller on lap 12, but which time Albon was too far ahead to be caught.
Fittipaldi finished the race 8th to grab his first FIA European F3 points. The Brazilian enjoyed a handy six second gap over Mücke Motorsport pairing Santino Ferrucci (9th) and Mikkel Jensen (10th).
2015 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 1, Race 3, Silverstone) Pos. Driver Team Time / Gap 1. George Russell Carlin-VW 18 laps 2. Charles Leclerc van Amersfoort-VW +1.723s 3. Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Carlin-VW +5.412s 4. Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam-Merc +6.332 5. Brandon Maïsano Prema Powerteam-Merc +13.630 6. Alexander Albon Signature-VW +15.005 7. Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam-Merc +22.178 8. Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec-Merc +36.821 9. Santino Ferrucci Mücke-Merc +42.445 10. Mikkel Jensen Mücke-Merc +43.404 11. Fabian Schiller West-Tec-Merc +44.052 12. Maximilian Günther Mücke-Merc +44.849 13. Nabil Jeffri Motopark-VW +45.599 14. Arjun Maini van Amersfoort-VW +45.928 15. Ryan Tveter Jagonya Carlin-VW +46.420 16. Alessio Lorandi van Amersfoort-VW +46.592 17. Hongwei Cao Fortec-Merc +50.542 18. Gustavo Menezes Jagonya Carlin-VW +50.935 19. Callum Ilot Carlin-VW +52.882 20. Nicolas Beer EuroInternatonal-Merc +55.323 21. Kang Ling Mücke-Merc +56.477 22. Matthew Rao West-Tec-Merc +1:02.028 23. Julio Moreno ThreeBond T-Sport-NBE +1:03.680 24. Nicolas Pohler Double R-Merc +1:05.301 25. Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark-VW +1:12.137 26. Matt Solomon Double R-Merc +1 lap 27. Raoul Hyman West-Tec-Merc +1 lap 28. Zhi Cong Li West-Tec-Merc +1 lap Retirements: Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam-Merc +1 lap Markus Pommer Motopark-VW +1 lap Dorian Boccolacci Signature-VW +2 laps Michele Beretta Mücke-Merc +18 laps Sérgio Sette Motopark-VW +18 laps Tatiana Calderon Carlin-VW +18 laps Sam MacLeod Motopark-VW +18 laps