Red Bull Ring F3: Piastri wins after first-corner drama

Renault junior Oscar Piastri took victory in the opening race of the new FIA Formula 3 season at the Red Bull Ring after surviving a first-corner clash that ended poleman Sebastian Fernandez's race.

Red Bull Ring F3: Piastri wins after first-corner drama

Australian driver Peroni, who was taken on by the Renault F1 junior programme thanks to his 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup title success, was part of a three-abreast battle for the lead going into the first corner.

Poleman Fernandez was slow away, allowing fellow front-row starter Lirim Zendeli up the inside towards Turn 1, and Piastri, from third on the grid, into the middle. 

Piastri got pincered between the two and appeared to try to back out, but as Fernandez turned in from the outside there was a collision, which pitched Fernandez off the track, and the ART Grand Prix driver retired to the pits with damage to his right-rear.

Piastri barely lost momentum, and was able to slipstream Zendeli up the hill to the Turn 3 hairpin, passing the German around the outside for the lead.

While Prema Racing starlet Piastri raced into the distance, Trident driver Zendeli focused on defending from a train comprising Logan Sargeant (Prema), Alex Peroni (Campos Racing) and Frederik Vesti (Prema).

Sargeant managed to pass Zendeli around the outside of the tight Turn 4 right-hander on the fifth lap, but got two wheels on the grass and conceded the position once again.

One lap later he tried again at the same place and, with Zendeli appearing relatively uncomfortable on the brakes, Peroni was also able to get past too.

At that point, Sargeant was 3.2 seconds behind Prema teammate Piastri, and the gap grew over the next couple of laps, but then the American began to chip away at the margin.

Once the shadowing Peroni became less of a threat, Sargeant began to reel in Piastri. The gap dipped under 2.0s with two laps remaining, and it was 1.6s at the flag.

Peroni set fastest lap in his pursuit of Sargeant on his way to making it two Australians on the podium, while Vesti – who passed Zendeli on lap nine – was also close at hand and completed a Prema 1-2-4.

Last year’s Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor challenged Vesti on the opening lap, but put two wheels of his MP Motorsport car in the gravel at Turn 4 and dropped back behind David Beckmann and Liam Lawson.

Red Bull Junior Lawson passed Beckmann on the ninth lap for sixth, but the Hitech GP driver couldn’t sufficiently close the gap to Beckmann’s Trident team-mate Zendeli.

Beckmann and Verschoor spent most of the race in seventh and eighth, with just a small margin to Alexander Smolyar (ART), reigning BRDC Formula 3 champion Clement Novalak (Carlin) and Bent Viscaal (MP Motorsport).

The order didn’t change, meaning Novalak claimed the final point and pole for Sunday’s reversed-grid race, with new rules meaning it is the top 10 reversed rather than the eight of before.

Jake Hughes, fifth on the grid, pitted at the end of the formation lap for attention to the left-rear of his HWA car, joined the race late and finished 28th.

New Red Bull Junior Igor Fraga (Charouz), who started from the back following qualifying problems, made commendable progress to 16th from the 30-car field.

Race results:

shares
comments
Red Bull Ring F3: ART's Fernandez grabs last-gasp pole
Previous article

Red Bull Ring F3: ART's Fernandez grabs last-gasp pole

Next article

Red Bull Ring F3: Red Bull junior Lawson scores first win

Red Bull Ring F3: Red Bull junior Lawson scores first win
What racing in Australiar the future of F1's junior series Prime

What racing in Australiar the future of F1's junior series

The announcement that FIA Formula 2 and 3 would race alongside the Australian Grand Prix from 2023 came as a surprise, not only to fans but to the series’ teams too. But with Formula 1’s boom in popularity bringing more fans to the championships, team principals are relishing the opportunity

FIA F2
Jun 28, 2022
How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape Prime

How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape

With just five points separating the top five after two rounds, FIA Formula 3 looks set for another thrilling season in 2022. But who stands the best chance of pulling away from that pack, and who are the contenders bubbling under?

FIA F3
May 3, 2022
Gregoire Saucy: How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors Prime

Gregoire Saucy: How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors

His career has been a slowburner but Gregoire Saucy trounced a collection of F1 juniors in Formula Regional by Alpine last year, and now he’s preparing to do it again in FIA F3. Here’s how the Swiss caught the world by surprise in 2021 and how he plans to do it all over again.

The hardships that haven’t dented Logan Sargeant's F1 dream Prime

The hardships that haven’t dented Logan Sargeant's F1 dream

Faced with “no options” for 2021, Logan Sargeant’s Formula 1 dream looked set to crumble. But a last-minute Formula 3 seat and a strong season secured him a Formula 2 drive for 2022. He told Motorsport.com how his transformative season affected both his personality and his future.

FIA F3
Jan 29, 2022
From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back Prime

From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back

After a disastrous 2020 in FIA Formula 3 with Hitech, Dennis Hauger began to doubt himself - with the self-belief he had built through success in junior series evaporating. But after regrouping, he stormed to the F3 title in 2021. Here’s how he did it...

FIA F3
Oct 7, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Prime

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Prime

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3 Prime

How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3

After a promising start to his single-seater racing career, life in the Formula 1 feeder series gave Jack Doohan a reality check. But, following a year of learning and toiling, the driver with one of the most famous surnames on the Formula 3 grid isn’t feeling the weight of expectation pushing down too hard on him any longer

FIA F3
Jun 30, 2021