Felix Rosenqvist took his second FIA European F3 win of the season at the Hockenheimring this morning and did it in emphatic style.
The Swede never looked troubled at any stage of the race, as he drew away from Charles Leclerc off the line.
Meanwhile championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi had to fight from 5th on the grid to assume the final podium position, but was too far behind Leclerc to challenge for 2nd.
The race contrasted greatly from yesterday’s event, which was peppered with safety car periods under damp conditions. With dry conditions the order of the day, Rosenqvist made the most of his Mercedes-powered entry to pull a 9.0s gap from the rookie Leclerc.
From the start Rosenqvist looked serene in his Prema Powerteam machine and was already 1.1s up on the French teen come the end of the opening lap, after the Monegasque Leclerc took a brief look down the insight of Rosenqvist into Nordkurve. The loss of momentum from Leclerc’s withdrawal allowed Rosenqvist to increase the gap by approximately three-to-six tenths per tour to lead by almost five seconds by the halfway mark.
It was a slightly different story for Leclerc who stayed in sight of the leader for a time, only to feel his tyres drop off after eight laps, ensuring Rosenqvist would pull even further away and win with ease. “It was a boring race for everybody, except me,” noted the victor. “The tyre [degradation] was perfect. It was a perfect start, a perfect race and the track was better than any other session: really grippy.”
Indeed the only difficulty felt by Rosenqvist came late on when attempting to lap Motopark’s Mahaveer Raghunathan, as absent blue flags made the task trickier than necessary.
Behind the leading duo, there was much shuffling as Maximilian Günther, Callum Ilot and Giovinazzi battled hard for the 3rd spot, with Günther emerging at the head of that group.
During what Giovinazzi admitted was a “tough race”, the Italian took Ilot momentarily on lap one, only for Ilot to retake in the hairpin. Giovinazzi stayed with his Carlin stablemate and finally grabbed 4th later on the opening lap from Ilot into Mercedes.
Giovinazzi’s fight with Günther lasted a touch longer, with the initially dice coming on lap three. Maintaining solid speed through turn two – where Giovinazzi has been powerful all weekend – the Jagonya Ayam Carlin man pulled to the rear of Günther’s Mücke machine and was slightly ahead at the hairpin; however the German rookie held his nerve and his pace made sure he retook Giovinazzi as the hairpin unraveled.
The Italian would lose out a little when he ran wide into Nordkurve on lap three, peppering his Hankook tyres with dirt, but closed back up on Günther by lap fourteen. After five laps of shadowing the orange machine, Giovinazzi tried a move along the Parbolika and into the hairpin again, only this time he made it stick, taking 3rd and maintain his record of a podium in ever race so far this season.
Once passed, Günther held 4th ahead of Ilot, while Santino Ferrucci drove a fine race to assume 6th for Mücke. Gustavo Menezes benefitted from a late mechanical failure for Markus Pömmer to assume 7th, in front of Alexander Albon (8th), George Russell (9th) and Brandon Maïsano (10th).
Lance Stroll finished 14th, but only after he was punted in the right rear at the hairpin by Ferrucci on the opening lap, while Jake Dennis stalled on the grid, but climbed to 15th by the end.