Prema’s Dennis Hauger, Trident’s David Schumacher ART’s Frederik Vesti secured wins in the three races in Round 3 of 2021 F3 weekend at Red Bull Ring.
A regular on the front row during his 2020 title challenge with PREMA Racing, Sargeant was lining up from pole for the first time with Charouz, but the American seemed out of practice, dropping down to second when the lights went out. Sargeant initially got off well, but Nannini’s start was simply stronger, with the HWA RACELAB ace braver on the brakes into the second turn.
Arthur Leclerc didn’t enjoy the type of start he’d have envisaged either, the PREMA struggling to getaway and falling from fourth to P8 off the line. Making up the most places was Novalak, the Trident bolting from seventh to third. Not that the field were allowed to get into any form of rhythm, as a Virtual Safety Car was required when Ido Cohen pulled to a stop for the second session in a row.
When action resumed, the Championship front three were locked in a battle for fifth, with Victor Martins leading Jack Doohan and Hauger, the PREMA impressively up from 12th. Uncharacteristically, Martins appeared to crack under pressure and suffered a wide moment, dropping down to seventh.
At the front, Nannini had been unable to break away from Sargeant and the American briefly reclaimed the position, but his move sparked a three-way brawl with Novalak getting involved from third. Going three-wide, Nannini came out on top with Novalak up to second. The trio continued to exchange places and for a moment it was Novalak in first, but by Lap 14, order had been restored and Nannini was the leader once again, followed by Sargeant and Novalak.
Leclerc’s race wasn’t getting any better, with the Monegasque running wide and grazing the wall, before later retiring from the pits. Things were looking a lot better for his teammate, Hauger, the Norwegian barging past Doohan, Caldwell and Sargeant to steal a podium spot. Caldwell was able to follow his teammate through shortly after, making light work of the Charouz, while Doohan dropped down to ninth.
The Championship leader may well have been content with his lot, but was gifted first when Nannini clipped the back of Novalak during a fight for the lead and threw the pair of them into the gravel. Steering clear of trouble, Hauger pulled away with Caldwell in tow. Nannini managed to recover for eighth, behind Doohan, but Novalak was plunged out of contention before eventually retiring. Unexpectedly returning to a podium position, Sargeant crossed the line with a strong 2.6s advantage over Martins.
There was plenty of further movement inside of the top 10 during a chaotic final few laps, with Jak Crawford and Caio Collet up to fifth and sixth, having started alongside each other in P8 and P9. After a series of impressive overtakes, Ayumu Iwasa finished in ninth, 10 places up from where he started, while Alex Smolyar completed the top 10. After starting 18th, Jonny Edgar secured himself reverse grid pole with a P12 finish at the flag, meaning that he will start on the front row ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, who was 11th.
UPDATE (post-race penalties): Eleven drivers have been penalised following today’s Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring. Seven of them have received time penalties for Track Limit Violations, starting with podium finishers Olli Caldwell and Logan Sargeant. Both of them left the track at Turn 9 and/or Turn 10 four times, without justifiable reason. As a consequence, 5s have been added to their total race time.
Caldwell does not lose second place despite the time added, but Sargeant drops from third to P15. The same penalty has been given to Victor Martins for the same reason. Five seconds have also been added to his total race time, dropping him from fourth to fifth in the final classification. Caio Collet and Amaury Cordeel have received a 10s-time penalties for leaving the track at the same turns, five times. The Brazilian had finished sixth and now classifies P17, while the Belgian. who had finished P21, now classifies 22nd.
Matteo Nannini has also been found guilty of leaving the track at Turn 9 and/or Turn 10, nine times. As a consequence, 30s have been added to his total race time. The Italian had finished P9, but has fallen to P23. Filip Ugran is also amongst the list of drivers to have left the track at the same turns, making the offence 10 times. Thirty seconds have been added to his total race time and he now classifies P24.
Jak Crawford has received a 5s time penalty for driving beyond the edge of the track and gaining an advantage over Alex Smolyar. The Russian has received the same time penalty for doing the same thing to Crawford. The American had finished fifth and Smolyar 10th, but they now classify P8 and P14, respectively.
Calan Williams was found guilty of making contact with David Schumacher at the exit of Turn 4. The Stewards determined that the Jenzer driver was on the inside of the Trident racer at the apex of Turn 4, but he was unable to maintain his line and was drawn into the German. This led to the two cars making contact, with Williams wholly to blame for the collision. Five seconds have been added to his total race time with the Australian now finishing P16. Meanwhile, Ayumu Iwasa has been disqualified from today’s Race 1 results. The Japanese failed to come into the pits after receiving a black and orange flag and carried on to finish the race.
During the hearing, Hitech Grand Prix’s representative stated that they had an issue with the onboard camera since qualifying and were informed (after qualifying) that the issue should have been resolved during Race 1. After being shown the black and orange flag, the team tried to contact the Race Director to discuss the necessity of the flag. Communication was not possible due to further technical issues.
After hearing the justification, the Stewards reiterated that complying with flag signals is imperative. The responsibility and onus of components fitted on a car fall fully on the competitor, as well as any subsequent safety concerns arising from their fitment. The Stewards noted that the decision to ignore the black and orange flag was fully a team decision and did not result from the negligence of Iwasa.
As such they agreed that the issuing of penalty points would not be justifiable and fair. Iwasa had classified 9th and he will start Race 2 in P29. Meanwhile, Clement Novalak has received a three-place grid drop for Race 2 for the contact he made with Nannini at the exit of Turn 4 in the later stage of this morning’s event. The two drivers were fighting for the lead when they collided, which resulted in the Italian dropping to P8, while the Frenchman retired.
The Stewards determined that Novalak tried to defend his position at the exit of Turn 4, with Nannini alongside him, but decided that the Frenchman did not leave sufficient space on the outside. This led to the two cars making contact. Novalak was found predominantly to blame for the collision and will start from P30 in Race 2.
Despite not quite pulling right up to the white P1 line, Schumacher managed to bolt into the lead when the lights went out and even built up an early gap over Stanek. The Hitech Grand Prix racer did enough to retain P2 into the first turn, but just couldn’t match the pace of Schumacher, who had a 0.7s advantage by the halfway point of Lap 1.
However, all of the German’s early hard work was undone by the introduction of a Safety Car at the start of the second lap, after Tijmen Van der Helm clipped the back of Logan Sargeant following an overtake from the American at Turn 1. Schumacher aced the restart, with the only movement in the top 10 coming from Vesti, who stole sixth from Edgar.
Stanek had to get his elbows out in a battle for second place, as Jak Crawford and Juan Manuel Correa both made attempts on the Czech driver, but neither of them could make the moves stick. Kaylen Frederick attempted to join in from fifth, but found himself at the mercy of Vesti and had to switch from attack to defence. After running wide on his first attempt, Crawford composed himself and went again.
This time, the American made the move stick and got through, but he was then taken out of contention with mechanical issues. His Hitech slowing to an eventual stop. Just as Crawford ducked out, Frederick tagged Correa and sent the duo spinning off at Turn 1. A Virtual Safety Car was required to get the cars out of the way, with Crawford and Frederick retiring and Correa dropping to last. Schumacher had made the most of the chaos behind him to build up a 3.5s gap over Stanek, who had Martins all over the back of him in third.
The MP Motorsport racer swiftly dispatched of the Hitech, going around the outside for second. Vesti was up to fourth and within touching distance of a podium. The ART Grand Prix racer was patient with his move, eventually passing Stanek smoothly down the inside for third. Behind them, Hauger was on the charge once again. The Championship leader had briefly fallen to 14th at the start of the race, but was up to fifth and eying up Stanek with four laps to go.
The Hitech Grand Prix driver was unable to hang on and handed the position over. But the biggest mover of the lot was Hauger’s PREMA Racing teammate, Arthur Leclerc, the Monegasque running in seventh, behind Edgar, after starting from 27th. There was heartbreak for title challenger Martins.
The MP racer was up from P8 and hunting down Schumacher for the lead, but just as he sliced the gap down to 1.6s, he lost power and slowed to a stop. The Frenchman’s loss was Hauger’s gain, the Championship leader promoted P3 and set for a second successive podium. Jack Doohan gained three places to finish seventh ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi and Olli Caldwell. Despite originally qualifying 27th, Johnathan Hoggard scored 10th to earn his first point.
UPDATE (post-race penalties): Caio Collet, Ido Cohen, Juan Manuel Correa and Kaylen Frederick have all been handed penalties following Race 2 at the Red Bull Ring. Collet has received a 5s time penalty that will be added to his total race time for leaving the track at Turns 9 and 10 four times. The Brazilian had finished Race 2 in P16 and now classifies P17.
The same penalty was applied to Cohen’s total race time for the same reason. The Israeli driver had finished one place lower than Collet and now classifies P20. Correa has also been given a 20s-time penalty for leaving the track at Turns 9 and 10 six times. The American crossed the line in P24 and retains the position despite the penalty.
Finally, Frederick was found guilty of making contact with Correa. The Stewards determined that the Carlin driver arrived at Turn 3 with excess speed, causing him to lose control of his car and make contact with the ART Grand Prix racer. The Carlin driver has been given a three place grid-drop for the next race in which he will participate. The American will not take part in Race 3 tomorrow morning following an injury.
Dennis Hauger and Frederik Vesti have enjoyed two scintillating Qualifying battles of late and picked up their fight from the front row of Race 3. The Red Bull junior confidently hauled his PREMA off the line and into Turn 1 when the lights went out, but Vesti smartly ducked behind him and took a tow, attempting to slipstream past at the second turn. Hauger was smart to the move and covered himself to retain the lead.
The main mover in the top 10 was Martins, up three places from 10th. Although one of the positions gained was his teammate Caio Collet, who had initially failed to get his MP going and dropped down to the back of the grid. At the front, Vesti continued to hound the back of Hauger and refused to let him build up any form of gap. Three times the Dane took a look, but he opted for patience and resisted making the move without the aid of DRS.
The system was switched on for Lap 4 and Vesti made the move a lap later, diving down the side with the aid of DRS for P1. Vesti’s teammate Smolyar compounded Hauger’s misery by following his teammate through two tours later, just as the second PREMA of Caldwell moved ahead of Clement Novalak for P4. While Hauger was losing places, his teammate Arthur Leclerc was gaining then, with the Monegasque up to P6 after a move on Martins.
Smolyar swiftly set about chasing his race leading teammate and it didn’t take long for an opening to arise. The Russian made a brave move down the side, but couldn’t make it work and ended up dropping back to third. Behind them, Leclerc and Martins were continuing their back and forth. The Frenchman briefly reclaimed sixth and Leclerc ran wide in an attempt to fight back, which saw him collect Martins. Novalak was caught up in the incident, his Trident plunged into the gravel alongside Leclerc. Martins escaped the gravel but fell to the back of the field.
Leclerc and Novalak both clambered out of their cars and a Safety Car was required to clear away the debris. The top three all held their positions when racing resumed, with Hauger seemingly over his earlier struggles and now putting pressure on Vesti. An opening failed to arise for the Norwegian as DRS was enabled with three laps to go. But his teammate Caldwell did manage to get the jump on Smolyar for the final podium position.
Jak Crawford and Jack Doohan were fighting for fifth when the Australian tagged the back of the Hitech, which dropped the pair of them down the order and brought out a Virtual Safety Car. Action restarted once more, but without DRS and with just one lap remaining. Caldwell had a glance down the side of his teammate on the main straight, but wasn’t able to make it work. Their tussle pulled Hauger away from his fight with Vesti, which allowed the Dane to cross the line unopposed.
Behind them, Matteo Nannini and Ayumu Iwasa benefitted from the two collisions to finish fifth and sixth. While Collet crossed the line seventh after a stellar recovery from the back of the grid after his opening lap woes. Behind them, Logan Sargeant, Calan Williams and Jonny Edgar completed the top 10.
UPDATE: Seven drivers have received post-race time penalties following today’s Race 3 at the Red Bull Ring, and an eighth has been handed a three-place grid drop for the next round of the season. Enzo Fittipaldi has been given a 5s-time penalty for leaving the track at Turns 9 and/or 10, four times. The Charouz Racing System driver drops from 13th to 15th with the penalty applied.
Oliver Rasmussen, Filip Ugran and Jack Doohan have all been handed 10s-time penalties after it was found that they left the track at Turns 9 and/or 10 five times each. With the penalties applied, Rasmussen drops from 11th to 22nd in the final classification. Ugran falls from 22nd to 23rd and Doohan remains 27th. Johnathan Hoggard has been given a 30s-time penalty for leaving the track at Turns 9 and/or 10 eight times. The Jenzer Motorsport driver falls from 18th to 25th.
Meanwhile, Tijmen Van der Helm has been handed a 5s time penalty for a collision with Rafael Villagomez. Van der Helm tried to make a move on the inside of Turn 1, but wasn’t fully committed, which resulted in the Dutchman hitting the inside kerb and making contact with the HWA RACELAB driver. The Stewards determined that Van der Helm was predominantly at fault. With the penalty applied, he falls from 17th to 20th.
Jak Crawford has been handed a 10s-time penalty for a collision with Jack Doohan. The Hitech Grand Prix driver tried to make a late move on the Trident racer going into Turn 3, but was never in a position to cleanly complete the overtake, which resulted in him hitting the back of Doohan. The Stewards determined that Crawford was wholly at fault. He remains in 26th place with the penalty applied.
Finally, Arthur Leclerc has been given a three-place grid drop for the next race in which he participates. The Stewards determined that Leclerc attempted to overtake Victor Martins on the inside between Turns 3 and 4. Martins defended his line, but Leclerc tried to pull alongside regardless. By doing this, Leclerc lost control and hit the back of the MP car, which damaged his front wing. This also resulted in contact with Clément Novalak, who subsequently retired. The Stewards determined that Leclerc was wholly at fault.
[Note: The above is as per F3 race report with no edits made]