Jake Hughes took victory in another Formula 3 thriller at Monza, while teams’ champions Prema endured a nightmare race with Oscar Piastri, Logan Sargeant and Frederik Vesti all retiring after incidents.
The race started with Lirim Zendelli jumping from fourth to first off the line, while reverse polesitter Michael Belov slipped back to fifth and Hughes went from sixth up to third ahead of Liam Lawson. At the back of the grid, title contender Sargeant started his recovery from 26th by climbing five places off the grid.
The opening laps saw Zendelli and Enzo Fittipaldi scrapping over the lead. Fittipaldi took the position on lap 5, but the two continued exchanging first and second until the run down to Rettifilo at the start of lap 8. Fittipaldi started the lap ahead, but as he defended the corner from Zendelli the two made contact and Fittipaldi dropped out of the fight with a punctured rear tyre.
Lawson then assumed the lead from Hughes as Zendelli dropped down the order as well. The Premas of Vesti and Piastri moved up into third and fourth respectively, having made steady progress from the bottom of the top ten, while Sargeant found himself in the points in tenth.
Sargeant’s luck then seemed to improve dramatically on lap 10 as Piastri was spun around at Turn 1 by the attacking Clement Novalak, who spun Sargeant himself out of the points in yesterday’s feature race. David Schumacher and David Beckmann were both caught up in the incident as well, while Sargeant profited from the chaos to leap up to fifth place behind previous race leader Zendelli.
The debris at Rettifilo brought out a brief virtual safety car, but not before Hughes pulled off a well-timed move on Lawson to take the lead of the race. When the race restarted on lap 11, Sargeant continued making progress as Zendelli ran wide through the first Lesmo, gifting Sargeant fourth place and enough points to level the championship battle with Piastri.
Sargeant continued pushing to take third away from teammate Vesti. After narrowly avoiding contact on lap 17 when Vesti locked up into Turn 1, and with the likes of Zendelli and Theo Pourchaire closing in on the battling Premas, Sargeant dove to the inside into Ascari on lap 19 and squeezed Vesti out to guarantee the position.
However, the move ended horribly for both drivers as they made contact on the first apex of the chicane, leaving Sargeant with a puncture and Vesti with front wing damage, which proved terminal for both drivers.
With three laps left on the board, Pourchaire inherited third behind Lawson and race leader Hughes, and the podium remained this way until the chequered flag. Zendelli looked to have the pace to pass Pourchaire before the end, but was instead passed by the second ART of Aleksandr Smolyar on the last lap, and finished fifth behind the Russian.
Alex Peroni took sixth ahead of Pierre-Louis Chovet, earning his first points since debuting with Hitech at the last round in Belgium. Roman Stanek was eighth for Charouz ahead of Trident’s Olli Caldwell, and Richard Verschoor took the final point in tenth.
Heading now into the final round of the season at Mugello, Piastri maintains the eight-point lead he gained over Sargeant at the start of the weekend. Lawson returns to third in the standings over Pourchaire, with both still mathematically able to challenge for the title at 25 and 26 points adrift of Piastri.
Full race result:
|1||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||15|
|2||Liam Lawson||Hitech Grand Prix||12|
|3||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||10|
|4||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART Grand Prix||8|
|6||Alex Peroni||Campos Racing||5|
|7||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Hitech Grand Prix||4|
|8||Roman Stanek||Charouz Racing System||3|
|10||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||1|
|11||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport|
|12||Sebastian Fernandez||ART Grand Prix|
|13||Sophia Floersch||Campos Racing|
|14||Michael Belov||Charouz Racing System|
|15||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer Motorsport|
|16||Dennis Hauger||Hitech Grand Prix|
|17||Cameron Das||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|18||Igor Fraga||Charouz Racing System|
|19||Calan Williams||Jenzer Motorsport|
|20||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab|
|21||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer Motorsport|
|22||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab|
|23||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing|
|Ret.||Frederik Vesti||Prema Racing|
|Ret.||Logan Sargeant||Prema Racing|
|Ret.||Clement Novalak||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|Ret.||Oscar Piastri||Prema Racing|
|Ret.||David Schumacher||Carlin Buzz Racing|
|Ret.||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport|