At the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the 17-year-old Monegasque scored his second win of the season. The two Formula 3 stalwarts Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) completed the trio of drivers on the podium. In the drivers’ standings, Giovinazzi defended his lead. The best-placed rookie, Leclerc is in second place, five points down.
Felix Rosenqvist was the first driver to take the lead in a race that got underway behind the safety car on the rain-soaked track. In the opening stages already, Charles Leclerc put the Swede under massive pressure. Until lap 14, Rosenqvist managed to defend his lead. Then, Leclerc overtook the Prema driver coming out of the hairpin, immediately extended his lead and finally drove an undisputed victory home. The safety car phase that followed after a collision by Pietro Fittipaldi (Fortec Motorsport) and Zhi Cong Li (Fortec Motorsport) just before the end of the race, didn’t affect Leclerc’s victory.
Behind Rosenqvist and Leclerc, Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) had his eyes firmly set on his maiden podium finish in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Then, however, the German spun from third place and Antonio Giovinazzi went past. Thus, the Italian scored his sixth podium finish from as many races in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Günther eventually was classified fifth behind his team-mate Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). Lance Stroll, (Prema Powerteam), Markus Pommer (Motopark), Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam), Alexander Albon (Signature) and Callum Ilott (Carlin) completed the top ten.
Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing): “Finishing the weekend with a victory is great. My first attack on Felix wasn’t successful, but the second one worked out. After that, I could pull away immediately. My car ran very well.”
Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “Initially, things were going well, but after two laps already, my rear tyres started overheating. I reckon that we got the tyre pressure slightly wrong. Nevertheless, the race was fun, although I didn’t have a chance against Charles in the end. He and his team simply did a better job in this race.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “It was a difficult race, because I only started from sixth place. My plan was to make up as many places as possible during the opening lap. Eventually, I was lucky that Maximilian spun. Having scored six podium finishes from the first six races is great.”
The race weekend at the 4.684 kilometres long Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve will take place together with the Blancpain Sprint Series, 4 - 6 September. A few days before, the official FIA Formula 3 European Championship mid-season test days will be held at the same venue.
Last year, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship raced at Moscow Raceway for the first time. Initially, another visit to Moscow was planned for this season. Due to the huge logistical efforts and the accordingly high travel expenses, teams had asked for the event to be reconsidered. The organisers have accepted this request. Together, the series promoter and the FIA have searched for an alternative, which was found with the event in Portimão. For the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, this will be the first event at the track on the Algarve coast that was opened at the end of 2008.
Another reason in favour of the event in Portimão was the possibility to stage the official mid-season test there. This test will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday (1 - 2 September) prior to the race weekend.
The revised FIA Formula 3 European Championship calendar:
At the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the 23-year-old stalwart had a comfortable margin of nine seconds from second-placed Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing). In third place, points’ leader Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) continued his consistent performance with five podium places from as many races in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. His margin in the drivers’ standings from second-placed Leclerc was reduced by three points to 15 points. Rosenqvist, in turn, is two points down on Leclerc in third place of the drivers’ standings.
In sunny conditions, Felix Rosenqvist benefited from pole position to lead the field into the first corner. Charles Leclerc slotted into second place from Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). Just behind the front runners, Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) tapped Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) into a spin when the field drove through the hairpin for the first time. The Canadian dropped back while Ferrucci incurred a warning.
In the opening stages, third-placed Günther was mainly busy with defending his position, because Giovinazzi put him under considerable pressure. Only a slight error by the Italian enabled Günther to pull a slight gap. That changed again on lap 18 when Giovinazzi successfully attacked the German in the hairpin and took third place.
Out in front, Felix Rosenqvist and Charles Leclerc were long gone by this time. For the Swede, it was his second win of the season while Leclerc, the best-placed rookie, scored his fourth podium finish of the year. Behind Giovinazzi and Maximilian Günther as the best-placed German, Callum Ilott (Carlin), Santino Ferrucci, Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Alexander Albon (Signature), George Russell (Carlin) and Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam) finished the race in fifth to tenth place respectively.
Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “For me, it was a perfect race. My start was good, my car was great and I also was able to manage the tyre degradation.”
Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort): “For me, it was a tough race. I couldn’t keep up with Felix, although I tried everything. On top of that, I always had to keep one eye on my rear-view mirror, because Antonio and Maximilian were quick. Generally, finishing second after a start from second on the grid is okay.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “Of course, I am very happy with my fifth podium finish in the fifth race, because I only started from fifth place on the grid. I managed to overtake Callum Ilott at an early stage already, but it took me a little bit longer before I finally could make a move to pass Maximilian.”