F3 Sochi: Doohan seals Trident teams’ title with contentious feature win

Jack Doohan took his fourth win of the season in the Sochi feature race and helped Trident to snatch the Formula 3 teams’ championship away from Prema, albeit by ignoring team orders in his battle with Clement Novalak.

Doohan and Novalak started alongside each other on the front row, and although Novalak got a quick launch to challenge Doohan into Turn 2, Doohan was able to hold his lead from pole position. Behind them Jonathan Hoggard kept third place while Frederik Vesti dropped from fourth to sixth behind Juan Manuel Correa and Lorenzo Colombo.

Vesti soon took those places back however, repassing Colombo by the end of the first lap and Correa on lap 3. On lap 5 he then caught and passed Hoggard’s Jenzer to bring himself up into the podium positions with just over three seconds separating him from the Tridents out front.

Jonathan Hoggard, Jenzer (Lars Baron, Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images / FIA F3)

Colombo and Correa continued to fall back through the field after those opening laps. Colombo dropped to ninth place after running wide while being passed by Vesti, and was then bumped out of the points altogether by Oliver Rasmussen by the end of lap 1. Meanwhile Correa lost fifth and sixth to Logan Sargeant and Jak Crawford, although he managed to hold seventh by seeing off the new F3 champion Dennis Hauger.

Hauger continued to pressure Correa for seventh, closely pursued himself by Victor Martins. Their battle came to a head on lap 7 as the three of them ran side by side through Turn 7. Correa came out ahead as Martins ran wide, but Hauger was spun around by Rasmussen who tried to take advantage of the melee.

Hauger dropped to the back of the field while Rasmussen and Martins both ended up outside the points. Arthur Leclerc benefited from the incident to sneak through and take seventh from Correa, while Ayumu Iwasa and Alex Smolyar were promoted into the points.

Arthur Leclerc, Prema (Courtesy of Prema Racing)

At the front of the field Doohan and Novalak were separated by just a few tenths of a second as they fought for the lead. Novalak set the pace early on with the fastest lap and ran just two tenths behind Doohan by lap 7. On lap 9 Novalak tried a move around the outside of Turn 2 for the lead, but he ran deep into the corner and was forced to slot back into second.

While Doohan and Novalak battled, Vesti was closing in fast on the pair of them. By lap 10 he’d halved his gap to 1.5 seconds behind the Tridents, while Novalak was being visibly held up by Doohan who was sliding through the hard right-handers.

With Vesti coming up fast behind them and the team needing to protect the win to take the teams’ title, Trident instructed Doohan to let Novalak through as he appeared to be the faster driver. But unsurprisingly with a win on the line Doohan didn’t let his teammate past, even though that allowed Vesti to close to just half a second by lap 15.

Trident were spared some anxiety a lap later when Vesti ran wide and dropped out of DRS range of Novalak. But Doohan also ran wide on the same lap which gave Novalak a run on his teammate down the straight at the start of lap 17. Novalak initially got ahead through Turn 2, but Doohan used the corner to set up the inside line into Turn 3 and retake the lead.

Clement Novalak, Trident (Rudy Carezzevoli, Getty Images / FIA F3)

To make matters worse for Novalak he then lost grip in Doohan’s wake and not only dropped out of DRS range of Doohan, but into Vesti’s clutches. Vesti was just a tenth behind Novalak heading through the middle sector while Novalak was warned about weaving in his defence.

When they got to the DRS straight out of Turn 10 Vesti had little trouble pulling alongside and passing Novalak for second. But despite his earlier speed, Vesti’s brief but close battle with Novalak had given Doohan the opportunity to open up a slight lead with two laps remaining, and he ended up crossing the line with two seconds in hand.

Vesti held onto second while Novalak completed the podium in third, but despite losing the 1–2 Trident were still able to take the teams’ title by six points from Prema. Sargeant completed a quiet race in fourth ahead of Crawford and Hoggard, while Leclerc finished seventh and Martins, Iwasa and Olli Caldwell rounded out the points.

Winning the race meant that Doohan keeps his second place in the championship, while Novalak finishes the season in third place ahead of Vesti and Martins.

Frederik Vesti, ART (Bryn Lennon, Getty Images / FIA F3)

F3 Sochi: Hauger seals title at first chance as Sargeant wins Race 1

Dennis Hauger clinched the 2021 Formula 3 title with a podium finish in the opening Sochi sprint race, which was won by Logan Sargeant for his first victory of the season and Charouz Racing System’s first victory in the series.

Sargeant started the race from second on the reverse grid alongside Victor Martins but seized the lead around the outside of Turn 2. Meanwhile Hauger tried to take third place from Jak Crawford, but after backing out he was forced to defend against Caio Collet in fifth and Alex Smolyar in sixth instead.

But although Hauger’s start didn’t go to plan, things were much worse for his title rival Jack Doohan. Starting from 12th on the reverse grid after claiming pole for the feature race, Doohan found himself caught up in the middle of the pack and bounced onto the kerbs at Turn 2, which dropped him down to 17th in the order.

Logan Sargeant, Charouz (Rudy Carezzevoli, Getty Images / FIA F3)

With Doohan out of the points and Hauger only needing six points to claim the title he didn’t need to make up any more places in the race. But despite that, Hauger continued pushing forward and putting the pressure on Crawford in third.

On lap 4 Hauger forced Crawford to take a deep defensive line through Turn 2 and used the opportunity to line up a move through Turn 3, putting himself into the podium positions. He then set the fastest lap and started cutting into Martins’ gap in second.

By lap 7 Hauger had gotten within four tenths of Martins and tried the same Turn 2 setup as he had on Crawford three laps earlier. But Martins was able to better hold off Hauger through Turn 3 and used Hauger’s championship considerations to force the Prema to back out.

But despite coming out on top in that battle, Martins couldn’t keep Hauger behind for much longer. On lap 10 Hauger ran within a tenth of Martins as he set up a move, which he then completed to take second a lap later.

With Sargeant little more than three seconds up the road, Hauger set off with the win in his sights. But with half the race done he started to struggle with his rear tyres losing temperature, and found Martins and Collet in fourth filling his mirrors. Meanwhile Clement Novalak, who had taken the fastest lap from Hauger, was rapidly closing on all three of them.

Victor Martins, MP Motorsport (Dan Istitene, Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images / FIA F3)

Sargeant ran wide on lap 14 and lost seven tenths from his lead, but Hauger wasn’t able to take advantage of the mistake as he had Martins just two tenths behind him. But before Martins could capitalise on Hauger’s tyres and reclaim second, the virtual safety car was brought out when Tijmen van der Helm retired on the side of the road with an engine failure.

When the VSC was withdrawn a lap later Hauger was able to get the better restart to pull out of DRS range of Martins, while Sargeant was just under two seconds ahead of him. Hauger continued to cut that gap as Sargeant’s own tyres fell off, and he closed to within DRS range of the Charouz on the final lap.

Going through the DRS zone after Turn 10, Hauger closed to four tenths behind Sargeant, but with the title in his hands he held back rather than making a lunge into Turn 13. Sargeant crossed the line just ahead of Hauger, and Martins finished third for his sixth podium of the year.

Novalak come through to take fourth from Collet in the final laps. Lorenzo Colombo took sixth for Campos ahead of Arthur Leclerc, Frederik Vesti, Juan Manuel Correa and Ayumu Iwasa. Crawford fell through the top ten in the latter stages of the race to finish 11th, while Doohan came home in 15th.

F3 Spa: Colombo powers to rain-interrupted sprint win

Lorenzo Colombo took his first Formula 3 win at Spa, making up for the win he was disqualified from in Hungary, by dominating the field in the rain-drenched first sprint race.

Owing to the torrential rain throughout the morning, the race started almost an hour late and ran three laps behind the safety car before lights out.

When the race did get underway on lap 4, Colombo’s Campos led away from Hitech’s Jak Crawford and Roman Stanek. Jonathan Hoggard in fourth put a challenge to the inside of Stanek at La Source, but Stanek held on around the outside to keep third place.

On the first racing lap, the only change in positions came from MP Motorsport’s Caio Collet and Victor Martins, who moved up past Logan Sargeant for eighth and ninth respectively. On lap 5, Collet then made up another place by passing Clement Novalak for seventh at Les Combes.

Victor Martins, MP Motorsport (Joe Portlock, Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images / FIA F3)

At the front of the field, Colombo made use of the clear visibility ahead of him to open up a four-second lead over Crawford by the end of lap five. Crawford himself had several seconds in hand over teammate Stanek, but Stanek was unable to drop the challenge of Hoggard who was staying consistently half a second behind the Hitech.

Hoggard’s pursuit of Stanek had opened up a gap between him and the Trident of David Schumacher in fifth behind. By the halfway stage, Schumacher was leading a train of cars including Frederik Vesti, Collet, Novalak and Martins.

On lap 9 Collet tried an audacious move around the outside of Vesti into La Source, but couldn’t get the traction on the wetter part of the circuit and Vesti retook sixth on the exit of the hairpin. At the same time, Collet’s teammate Martins managed to complete a move past Novalak for eighth coming into La Source.

Once past Novalak, Martins put in a new fastest lap time and started putting pressure on Collet ahead of him. Meanwhile, the train caught up with Hoggard who made a pair of costly mistakes on lap 10 and dropped away from the back of Stanek.

On lap 13 Schumacher took advantage of Hoggard running wide out of La Source to pull alongside the Jenzer. But as the two fought down the Kemmel Straight, Vesti and Collet entered the battle as well and Collet emerged from the spray in front of Vesti and Hoggard, albeit after taking to the runoff to avoid collecting the cars ahead of him.

Collet was then handed a five-second time penalty for completing the move off the track, but not before he’d been passed by Vesti on track for fourth place. Hoggard meanwhile fell back to seventh after being passed by Martins, while Schumacher came out of the fight worst as he tumbled back down the order to ninth behind Novalak.

Clement Novalak, Trident (Dan Mullan, Getty Images / FIA F3)

Entering into the final laps, Colombo out front retook the fastest lap title from Martins and continued to sprint away from the field. By the time he took the chequered flag, Colombo was more than 12 seconds clear of Crawford, who took second place by two seconds from Stanek.

Vesti finished fourth, while Collet’s penalty promoted Martins to fifth ahead of Hoggard, Novalak and Sargeant. Collet slotted into ninth position ahead of Alex Smolyar, who dropped Schumacher to P11 and outside of the points on the penultimate lap. Jack Doohan finished in P12 and will start this afternoon’s race from reverse grid pole.

F3 Hungary: Nannini storms to first victory in race two

Matteo Nannini took his maiden Formula 3 victory in the second Hungaroring sprint race, while Dennis Hauger put in another charging drive to increase his championship lead.

Nannini started the race from third on the reverse grid behind Enzo Fittipaldi and Roman Stanek, neither of whom had won before in F3 either. Although Fittipaldi looked to have the lead covered heading into Turn 1, Nannini made a late braking lunge around the outside to jump from third to alongside the Charouz.

Fittipaldi held the position, helped in part by a lockup from Nannini through Turn 3, forcing Nannini to settle back into second ahead of Stanek. The trio led a chaotic opening lap that also saw three cars stalled on the starting grid, and a collision between Oliver Rasmussen and Olli Caldwell that left Caldwell with a broken front wing and well outside the points.

Olli Caldwell, Prema (Courtesy of Prema Racing)

Fittipaldi set an early fastest lap, but Nannini stuck with him. At the start of lap 4, Nannini closed to the back of Fittipaldi under DRS and passed him for the lead around the outside into Turn 1. Fittipaldi tried to fight back through the following corners, but although Nannini locked up at Turn 3 the HWA managed to stay ahead.

Once in front, Nannini put the clear air ahead to good use to open up a 2-second gap by lap 8. As that increased even further to almost three seconds by the halfway stage, Fittipaldi was unable to keep up and instead had Stanek and fourth-placed Alex Smolyar on his tail.

Fittipaldi managed to stabilise by lap 15 and drop Stanek out of DRS range, but by this point Nannini was too far up the road to catch. Nannini crossed the line with a comfortable lead to take the victory, with Fittipaldi and Stanek following him across the line in second and third.

While the podium battle was settled early on, the midfield played host to several close fights in the closing laps. Jack Doohan was running in fifth behind Smolyar for most of the race, but his tyres faded on lap 16 and he was passed by teammate David Schumacher at Turn 3.

David Schumacher, Trident (Bryn Lennon, Getty Images / FIA F3)

Doohan then fell prey to Dennis Hauger two laps later at the outside of Turn 1, before tumbling back through the order. Lorenzo Colombo and Clement Novalak demoted him to ninth at the start of lap 19, which then became eleventh as Logan Sargeant and Ayumu Iwasa found their way past the Trident before the end of the lap.

On the penultimate lap Hauger made up another place by launching around the outside of Schumacher at Turn 1 to take fifth. He even managed to catch up to fourth-placed Smolyar by the end of the lap, although didn’t have enough time to pass the ART before the chequered flag.

Hauger crossed the line fifth behind Smolyar to add another six points to his championship tally. Schumacher was sixth, and Colombo, Novalak, Sargeant and Iwasa rounded out the points.

F3 Hungary: Iwasa inherits race one win after Colombo penalised

Hitech’s Ayumu Iwasa has inherited the victory in the opening Hungaroring sprint race, after original winner Lorenzo Colombo was handed a post-race penalty.

Colombo was penalised for dropping more than ten car lengths behind the safety car late in the race. Drivers are only allowed to do so after the safety car has turned out its lights prior to the restart. Colombo was handed a five-second time penalty for the infringement, which drops him from first and seventh.

Iwasa therefore inherits the win, with Olli Caldwell moving up to second place and Logan Sargeant taking his first podium of the year in third. Clement Novalak is now fourth, Dennis Hauger fifth, and Alex Smolyar sixth. David Schumacher, Jack Doohan and Matteo Nannini remain eighth, ninth and tenth behind Colombo.

F3 Hungary: Colombo and Campos take emotional maiden win in first sprint race

Lorenzo Colombo scored his and Campos Racing’s first Formula 3 win in the opening Hungaroring sprint race, beating the Red Bull juniors of Jonny Edgar and Ayumu Iwasa.

Colombo started the race from second on the grid behind reverse polesitter Edgar. The Italian looked to the inside of Edgar at Turn 1, but had to slip back to hold second as Iwasa tried to take them both around the outside.

The top three ran in single file in the first few laps, and quickly broke the DRS gap back to Olli Caldwell in third. But despite Edgar, Colombo and Iwasa being separated by just a second in total, neither was able to make any move to change the order.

Jonny Edgar, Carlin (GEPA pictures, Manfred Binder / Red Bull Content Pool)

That changed soon after though, as Colombo started putting in a sequence of good laps to close up more on Edgar. At the beginning of lap 8 Colombo drew alongside Edgar under DRS on the start/finish straight and swept around the outside at Turn 1 to take the lead.

But as Colombo settled in front of Edgar, the Carlin started slowing with a mechanical problem and dropping down the order. As Edgar fell out of the points and eventually pulled over to retire, Iwasa inherited second and Caldwell third.

Iwasa wasn’t able to pressure Colombo for the lead though, as he himself had to defend second from Caldwell. Just two laps after taking first place, Colombo had already opened up a second gap over Iwasa to protect from the DRS threat.

Colombo’s drive to victory was briefly worried on lap 16, when Frederik Vesti came to a halt by the track and brought out a safety car. But at the restart on lap 19, Colombo went early through the final corner and caught Iwasa off guard, and restored his one second gap within two laps.

Ayumu Iwasa, Hitech (Red Bull Content Pool)

Colombo eventually crossed the line with a 1.5 second lead, and dedicated his win to team founder Adrian Campos, who passed away in January this year. Iwasa scored his first F3 podium in second, while Caldwell finished in third and moves up to second place in the championship.

Logan Sargeant finished fourth for Charouz ahead of Clement Novalak. Championship leader Dennis Hauger took sixth place from eleventh on the grid, having made up places at the safety car restart. Alex Smolyar, David Schumacher, Jack Doohan and Matteo Nannini rounded out the points, and Enzo Fittipaldi finished twelfth to take pole for race 2.