Oscar Piastri was crowned the 2020 Formula 3 champion after the Mugello sprint race finale, overcoming a late charge from outside contender Theo Pourchaire after main rival Logan Sargeant retired from a first lap collision.
Sargeant started the race as the highest title contender in fifth on the reverse grid, while Pourchaire started in eighth and Piastri outside the points in 11th. But Sargeant’s title challenge was ended at the second corner of the race when he was squeezed by Sebastian Fernandez into Lirim Zendelli. Sargeant and Zendelli both went off into the gravel, and despite Sargeant’s efforts he couldn’t make it back to the track and was out of the race.
As the safety car came out to recover Sargeant and Zendelli’s cars, Piastri looked set to take the title as he ran seventh with his only remaining rival Pourchaire behind in eighth. But at the restart on lap 4 Pourchaire immediately leapt past Piastri and then Jake Hughes for sixth as he tried to turn his nine-point deficit into an unlikely championship steal.
As the opening phase of the race unfolded, everything seemed to fall into place for Pourchaire’s title hopes. As he passed his ART teammate Aleksandr Smolyar for fifth and targeted the podium positions he needed to become champion, Piastri struggled for pace and was shuffled down to tenth by his own teammate Frederik Vesti.
But after Pourchaire passed Enzo Fittipaldi and Sebastian Fernandez to reach third place in the second half of the race, Piastri’s pace started to recover. The Australian took ninth from the struggling Smolyar at the same time as Pourchaire passed Fernandez, meaning that Piastri would still have enough points to win the championship if Pourchaire couldn’t improve to second.
With 1.5s between Pourchaire and second-placed David Beckmann on lap 17, it looked far from unlikely that Pourchaire would be able to take the position. But while Piastri’s pace was improving, Pourchaire’s earlier charge took its toll on his tyres and he was unable to make up much of the gap between him and Beckmann.
Meanwhile, Piastri continued picking off the lower top ten to make Pourchaire’s job even more difficult. On lap 18 Piastri passed Vesti for eighth place, then caught Fernandez as the ART dropped back through the field and took seventh place in a drag race to the line on the final lap.
Finishing seventh with Pourchaire third, Piastri won the championship by three points, while Pourchaire took the runner-up position from Sargeant by one point.
The sprint race was won by Liam Lawson, who put in a commanding performance from pole to win by almost seven seconds from Beckmann. The win gave Lawson fifth place in the championship ahead of Beckmann, although both were kept out of the top four by Vesti.
Fittipaldi took his best result of the season just behind the podium in fourth, ahead of Richard Verschoor and Hughes. Behind Piastri and Fernandez, the final points were taken by Vesti and Smolyar, with Vesti also earning the bonus two points for the fastest lap.
Full race result:
|1||Liam Lawson||Hitech Grand Prix||15|
|3||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||10|
|4||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||8|
|5||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||6|
|6||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||5|
|7||Oscar Piastri||Prema Racing||4|
|8||Sebastian Fernandez||ART Grand Prix||3|
|9||Frederik Vesti (FL)||Prema Racing||4|
|10||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART Grand Prix||1|
|11||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab|
|12||Dennis Hauger||Hitech Grand Prix|
|13||Alex Peroni||Campos Racing|
|14||Clement Novalak||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|15||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer Motorsport|
|17||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport|
|18||Roman Stanek||Charouz Racing System|
|19||David Schumacher||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|20||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport|
|21||Calan Williams||Jenzer Motorsport|
|22||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer Motorsport|
|23||Michael Belov||Charouz Racing System|
|24||Sophia Floersch||Campos Racing|
|25||Cameron Das||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|26||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing|
|Ret.||Logan Sargeant||Prema Racing|