“FIA F3: Stroll takes first blood at Spa”
FIA European F3 Championship leader Lance Stroll extended his points lead over Prema Powerteam teammate Maxi Günther with victory at Spa-Francorchamps.
Stroll headed runner-up Günther and Hitech GP’s Ben Barnicoat at the chequered flag under safety car conditions, however prior to the late race neutralisation, the Canadian was drawing away from the pack with consummate ease.
The race began under safety car when heavy rain created several rivers and pools across the circuit. Eventually starting on the sixth tour, Stroll immediately built a strong lead over Günther, while Barnicoat battled with Nick Cassidy (Prema) over the final podium spot.
For a time, the Barnicoat / Cassidy battle was a fraught one, as the paired dueled from La Source, through Eau Rouge and over the top of Radillon, with Cassidy passing Barnicoat, before the Hitech man retook his Kiwi rival.
Thereafter Barnicoat stretched his gap to Cassidy, but was unable to catch the distant Stroll and Günther. Cassidy consolidated 4th spot to take twelve championship points.
George Russell finished 5th in his Hitech GP entry, but had to battle around Harrison Newey (van Amersfoort Racing) to do it. Newey maintained 6th place – his first top-six finish in Formula 3.
Mücke’s David Beckman secured another points finish in 7th place, but not after a controversial clash with teammate Mikkel Jensen at La Source on lap 8. The clash took Jensen out of the running completely and promoted Ralf Aron (Prema) to 8th, despite the Estonian enduring an off at La Combes on the ninth tour.
Ryan Tveter and Alessio Lorandi (both Carlin) ended the race in 9th and 10th positions respectively. It was not a good day for Carlin – Weiron Tan crashed his Carlin machine at La Combes on the penultimate lap, bringing out the safety car which would eventually end the race.
Callum Ilott (van Amersfoort) could do nothing from his low starting position and crossed the line a disappointing 16th place. Also mixing it up were Anthoine Hubert and Guan Yu Zhou who collided clumsily in the Bus Stop on lap 7, with the subsequent damage finishing Hubert’s race early.