Formula 3 Styrian Grand Prix 2020

For the second weekend of the Formula 3 season, the drivers stayed in Austria to compete in the second round, held once more at Spielberg. With a tight competition last weekend, drivers will be more than willing to impress their peers and compete highly.

Qualifying

For Formula 3’s second season, the first qualifying session was considerably sunny compared to the day before. The pole position was contended between Frederik Vesti, David Beckmann, Logan Sargeant, Sebastián Fernández, Oscar Piastri, Jake Hughes and Lirim Zendeli, however with Fernández’s immaculate driving, he achieved first. There were a few mishaps during the session including some oversteers, with Novalak riding into the gravel, Vesti spinning causing Piastri to lose a qualifying lap and Pourchaire with too much oversteer into the final corner.

The grid is as follows:
1. Frederik Vesti
2. David Beckmann
3. Logan Sargeant
4. Oscar Piastri
5. Théo Pourchaire
6. Lirim Zendeli
7. Alex Peroni
8. Olli Caldwell
9. Sebastián Fernández
10. Liam Lawson
11. Richard Verschoor
12. Alexander Smolyar
13. Max Fewtrell
14. Matteo Nannini
15. Lukas Dunner
16. Jake Hughes
17. Bent Viscaal
18. Roman Staněk
19. Dennis Hauger
20. Sophia Flörsch
21. Enzo Fittipaldi
22. David Schumacher
23. Jack Doohan
24. Igor Fraga
25. Clément Novalak
26. Calan Williams
27. Enaam Ahmed
28. Cameron Das
29. Federico Malvestiti
30. Alessio Deledda

Feature Race

The rainclouds loomed over the track for the third race of the Formula 3 season, giving a light shower over the Austrian race track. Despite the weather expected to be heavier as the race goes on, a few drivers gambled for the slick tyres whilst the rest went for wets. Though, by the end of the formation lap, everyone was on the wet tyres.

Despite the track being damp, the start was clean for all 30 drivers with no incidents. Vesti maintained the lead ahead of Beckmann and Zendeli, whilst Sargeant moved back fighting with Pourchaire and Piastri. The Trident cars were majorly quick for the feature race, with Caldwell already taking positions from Pourchaire and Sargeant. Further back, Peroni overtook Lawson and Fernández, gaining time on the pack at the front.

Lap 3 came with Nannini having an issue, dropping down the order. Meanwhile the battle between Lawson and Peroni continued for 9th. With the weather falling harder, it was bound to get more chaotic as the race went on.

Smolyar was the first to ignite the chain of incidents. A puncture in one of his wheels sent him into the wall on the start/finish straight. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed in reaction to this, allowing the marshals to be able to retrieve the strucken car.

Vesti maintained a large lead on the restart, keeping 2 seconds ahead of Zendeli. Further down the grid, Lawson makes a move on the French rookie, Pourchaire whilst Piastri attempts a move on Beckmann.

The green flag didn’t last for long with Novalak being hit in the back by teammate Ahmed. In an unconvenient position and risk of collisions, the safety car was called out on lap 9, only 3 laps after the virtual one ended. Novalak manages to restart his car and rejoined the race in 29th.

With the drivers following each other for 2 laps, the safety car was recalled, allowing racing to resume on lap 12. Vesti keeps control of the race still with an excellent restart ahead of Zendeli and Beckmann. None of the front runners took a plunge into making a move, but Caldwell decided it was an opportunity to overtake Sargeant for 4th. Verschoor did the same taking 6th from Sargeant.

Staněk lost control of his car, causing another safety car. As well as this, Fernández was hit by a driver in the spray on one of the main straights. Sargeant also had an issue elsewhere on the track. With drivers now being in danger, the race directors gave a red flag and the race was called off.

The classifications were also altered after the race, taking the standings of the penultimate lap before the red flag, meaning Piastri stayed 4th ahead of Caldwell, whilst Verschoor had to settle with 7th after making an overtake on Sargeant. Fernández, who was hit in one of the incidents, re-earned 13th putting Fewtrell into 14th. Staněk kept his 17th after his spin on the final lap. Hauger retakes 18th whilst Fraga drops from 23rd to 26th.

The feature race results are:
1. Frederik Vesti
2. Lirim Zendeli
3. David Beckmann
4. Oscar Piastri
5. Olli Caldwell
6. Logan Sargeant
7. Richard Verschoor
8. Liam Lawson
9. Théo Pourchaire
10. Jake Hughes
11. Alex Peroni
12. David Schumacher
13. Sebastián Fernández
14. Max Fewtrell
15. Enzo Fittipaldi
16. Lukas Dunner
17. Roman Staněk
18. Dennis Hauger
19. Enaam Ahmed
20. Bent Viscaal
21. Sophia Flörsch
22. Jack Doohan
23. Matteo Nannini
24. Cameron Das
25. Calan Williams
26. Igor Fraga
27. Alessio Deledda
28. Federico Malvestiti
29. Clément Novalak
30. DNF Alexander Smolyar

Sprint Race

The sprint race grid is:
1. Jake Hughes
2. Théo Pourchaire
3. Liam Lawson
4. Richard Verschoor
5. Logan Sargeant
6. Olli Caldwell
7. Oscar Piastri
8. David Beckmann
9. Lirim Zendeli
10. Frederik Vesti
11. Alex Peroni
12. David Schumacher
13. Sebastián Fernández
14. Max Fewtrell
15. Enzo Fittipaldi
16. Lukas Dunner
17. Roman Staněk
18. Dennis Hauger
19. Enaam Ahmed
20. Bent Viscaal
21. Sophia Flörsch
22. Jack Doohan
23. Matteo Nannini
24. Cameron Das
25. Calan Williams
26. Igor Fraga
27. Alessio Deledda
28. Federico Malvestiti
29. Clément Novalak
30. Alexander Smolyar

Matteo Nannini had an issue on the formation lap, meaning he dropped down the order, but managed to get the car running for a while during the race.

Pourchaire had a good start, managing to get ahead of the Briton Jake Hughes. Lawson followed behind them, though backing out from the lead fight, whilst feature race winner Vesti was battling Schumacher for 10th. For Verschoor, he was aiming to get another good points finish and already was on the hunt for 6th from Zendeli. A clean move allowed him to take the position, which was the start of many.

Fernández was on a mission for redemption after last week and was fighting up the order. Overtaking last year’s podium finisher, Max Fewtrell, he was now in 11th. Meanwhile at the front, Hughes tries to go around the outside of rookie Pourchaire, but his excellent defending allowed him to maintain the position ahead.

Come lap 4, Lawson decided that this was the opportunity to take the lead. DRS into turn 4 meant he now was in line with the other two drivers, but braking later and a good line meant Liam took the lead. The lead was hardly fought for, because in the following lap, Hughes tried to retake the position and did it successfully. Because of this battle, Sargeant managed to gain time on them, now trying to battle Pourchaire, but the 16 year old Frenchman Théo stayed ahead. Behind them, Beckmann was fighting for 6th position against Verschoor.

The start of many incidents occurred when Novalak was battling Doohan. Forced wide, he took the outside line but was squeezed into the gravel trap and over the kerbs, sending his front wheels upwards. Luckily, it wasn’t too significant of a crash, where he managed to retake the car at the outside of the gravel trap and bring the car back into the race.

For Verschoor, he was climbing up the order well, with him overtaking two of the Trident’s drivers, putting him back into 6th by lap 9. For Fernández, it wasn’t going so well. A little mistake making him go wide ended up losing 6 positions from 9th after taking a short trip into the gravel. Similarly, a lap later, Zendeli went wide whilst trying to approach the Dane of Frederik Vesti, dropping down to 11th. The battle at the front continued, this time Lawson now taking 1st from Hughes.

The racing was soon paused on lap 11 when Smolyar accidentally hit Flörsch, sending her round on the straight and into another polystyrene board. This, in turn, brought the safety car out on track. The safety car laps didn’t go so well for Campos racers Deledda and Peroni. Peroni slides into the gravel during a corner and Deledda has to pit because of a broken front wing, dropping him down the order. For Nannini, it was another disappointment, having to retire even though he got the car restarted from the start of the race.

Racing resumed on lap 17 and immediately Beckmann tried to make a move on Sargeant for 4th, but was unable to. The two Prema teammates of Vesti and Piastri were also battling, though it was settled with maturity. Lower down the grid, Ahmed, Dunner, Viscaal and Das were all battling together for positions in 19th to 22nd.

Hughes went on to retake the lead on lap 20, taking it at the top of turn 1. The battle continued, through into turn 3, where Jake Hughes had a lockup allowing Lawson to regain time, until a collision occurred. Similar to last year with Shwartzman and Armstrong, the cars touched, sending Hughes into the gravel and Lawson with damage. Oversteer meant he squeezed Hughes out of the track, which unfortunately ended a race-long battle.

Pourchaire took advantage of this and sped into first position. Virtual safety car was called during the collision due to Das being off track for retirement, but with two cars stranded in gravel, the safety car was called. The race never had a safety car restart, allowing Pourchaire to be the youngest race winner since Mitch Evans, many years ago.

Post race, Roman Staněk was given a 10 second stop and go penalty for not being in line during the first safety car. This was converted to a 30 second penalty meaning he dropped from 18th to 24th.

The sprint race results are:
1. Théo Pourchaire
2. Logan Sargeant
3. David Beckmann
4. Richard Verschoor
5. Oscar Piastri
6. Olli Caldwell
7. Max Fewtrell
8. Frederik Vesti
9. Sebastián Fernández
10. Lirim Zendeli
11. Alex Peroni
12. Dennis Hauger
13. Enzo Fittipaldi
14. Igor Fraga
15. Enaam Ahmed
16. Bent Viscaal
17. David Schumacher
18. Lukas Dunner
19. Jack Doohan
20. Alexander Smolyar
21. Alessio Deledda
22. Federico Malvestiti
23. Calan Williams
24. Roman Staněk
25. Clément Novalak
26. DNF Liam Lawson
27. DNF Jake Hughes
28. DNF Cameron Das
29. DNF Sophia Flörsch
30. DNF Matteo Nannini

We’ll be back once more next week (17-19 July) where we will be moving on to Budapest, Hungary. The team will be following the same schedule for the posts:
Friday – Predictions
Monday – Race Summaries
Wednesday – Race Opinions