The Round 4 of 2021 FIA F3 championship at Hungaroring saw wins for Ayumu Iwasa, Matteo Nannini and Dennis Hauger, with the latter extending his lead.
The Top 12 reverse F3 qualifying grid saw Carlin’s Jonny Edgar on pole with Campos’ Lorenzo Colombo joining him in the front row. Lights out saw a great reaction from the former as he was first at Turn 1, though he had a lock up which left him and the latter side by side by Turn 2, causing the Carlin driver to go into a more defensive strategy, forcing Campos man slightly off-track, but nothing too serious that urged any FIA investigation.
As the chase continued on, Lap 8 saw Colombo take the lead in Turn 1 using DRS on Edgar. Not only he lost the race lead but soon after the overtake, he lost engine power dropping down the grid to eventually retire, causing a yellow flag.
The Top 12, meanwhile, saw some fierce racing from the F3 championship leader Dennis Hauger in the Prema car, as he made his way through the field from P11 into the Top 10, passing ART’s Frederik Vesti on Lap 2. Then on Lap 14, he swiftly passed Trident’s David Schumacher at Turn 1 braking late from the outside, moving him up into P7.
Racing hard all the way through, in Lap 20, Hauger overtook the other ART car of Aleksandr Smolyar at Turn 1 using the outside line and his infamous late braking to take on P6. At the same time, Trident’s Jack Doohan and HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini moved up into the points places on Lap 16.
But for Vesti, it was despair where he faced a mechanical issue, not being able to upshift, leaving him in the run off area at Turn 1, ending his race with a hydraulic issue. Under the yellow flag, the same Turn 1 saw a slight collision between HWA’s Oliver Rasmussen and MP Motorsport’s Caio Collet, which was put under investigation by the stewards.
Towards the end of the race, the Trident teammates Schumacher and Doohan were still going at each other with the German making up a place to be eighth, at Turn 3 on the outside leaving the title contender in ninth. The final lap of F3 race saw a yellow flag as Carlin’s Ido Cohen and Hitech’s Jak Crawford collided at Turn 1.
The yellow flag did not affect race leader Colombo’s race as he ended up to register his first-ever F3 win and first for Campos in 2021, especially after the passing of Adrian. Behind him, Iwasa held off Prema’s Olli Caldwell for his best result in second, with Charouz’s Logan Sargeant in fourth. Trident’s Clement Novalak was fifth with Hauger sixth ahead of Smolyar, Schumacher, Doohan and Nannini in the Top 10.
UPDATE: Post-race investigations saw Colombo handed a 5s time penalty for safety car infraction, where he was found to have driven more than ten car lengths behind the Safety Car prior to the car turning its lights out for the restart. This dropped Colombo to seventh in the order, with Iwasa registering his maiden F3 win from Caldwell, Sargeant, Novalak, Hauger and Smolyar in the Top 6.
The F3 Race 2 at Hungaroring saw Charouz’s Enzo Fittipaldi on pole in a Top 12 reverse from Race 1, with Hitech’s Roman Stanek along with him in the front row in P2. Lights out saw an excellent start for the Brazilian who kept his lead from Stanek and Nannini.
However, Nannini made a quick work to gain places as he took the outside line on Turn 1 to overtake Stanek for second, even going off-track while side by side to Fittipaldi. He couldn’t take the lead at that moment, but stuck on his tail to pile the pressure, with his elbows out and claws bared.
Hard racing at the front was not all that took place in Lap 1, but also the stalling of two cars at the start. However, everyone behind was able to avoid the Campos and MP Motorsport cars of Amaury Cordeel and Victor Martins. The former did not start eventually, but the latter was able to continue the race.
The Lap 3 saw Rasmussen and Caldwell in the pits after a contact, where the Prema driver’s front wing damaged, with the investigation on. Meanwhile, Hauger’s race strategy was no different than Race 1 – racing hard and racing close. Starting P8, the Norwegian had was up to seventh battling it out with Schumacher for sixth on Lap 14.
Though he’d made multiple attempts, Schumacher’s Trident held him off. The German set off on a team battle for fifth against Doohan on Lap 16, with the former passing his teammate. It brought Hauger in the game as he almost escaped a contact with the Australian due to his lockup. The Australian was able to block the Prema driver off.
Doohan’s lead over Hauger did not last as long as the Trident driver would have wanted, with the Prema driver eventually passing him on the outside line of Turn 1 and moving up to sixth position. Later in Lap 21, he managed to pass Schumacher from the outside line; his usual, infamous. And successful positioning.
The Lap 19 saw Doohan move down the grid as Colombo, Novalak, Sargeant and Iwasa passed him. The Trident driver in P11 lost four places in one lap. He continued to lose places with Prema’s Arthur Leclerc and Collet clearing him up as well, while the Australian struggled due to tyre degradation.
Up front, Nannini was able to take the lead on Lap 4, after locking up in Turn 2, leaving Fittipaldi trailing behind in P2. The Italian was able to keep his lead all throughout the 22 laps to register his first ever F3 win, making him the ninth different driver that has won out of eleven races so far.
The Brazilian was second, while Stanek rounded out the Top 3. Smolyar had a quite race in fourth with Hauger extending his F3 points lead in fifth from Schumacher, Colombo, Novalak, Sargeant and Iwasa in the Top 10.
The last F3 race of Round 4 at Hungaroring saw Prema’s Leclerc start on pole with teammate Hauger in P2 ahead of Trident pair of Doohan and Schumacher. The rainy morning made it an interesting Lap 1 on wet tyres for all. There was an immediate yellow flag for a collision between Martins and Rasmussen, sending the former into the barriers.
He kept his engine on and was make it back to the pits, with the incident put under investigation. The race went green on Lap 4 in greasy conditions, where Leclerc led the pack at the start/finish line from Hauger, Doohan and Schumacher. Behind, Caldwell and Iwasa went tow-to-tow on Lap 5 in eighth and ninth respectively.
But a late braking moment from Caldwell turned awry where he ran wide after a small touch, dropping several places down and losing eighth to Iwasa. At the front, it was extremely competitive as Hauger closed the gap on teammate Leclerc to 0.2s by Lap 7 due to the Monegasque’s slight dip into the wet terrain.
The chase was on for Hauger for the lead and Lap 8 saw the Prema duo side by side on the straights with the F3 points leader looking to get past, but Leclerc’s defensive driving stopped him from making the overtake. Unfortunately for the Monegasque, his defensive driving could only take him so far, as the Norweigan took the lead in Lap 9 from the outside line at Turn 4-5-5 sequence.
By Lap 11, the drivers went into tyre conservation mode as the track was beginning to dry up. The Prema duo competed for fastest lap, while Doohan steadied in third from Schumacher. The Australian set some fastest laps too, but to no avail as the gap was huge.
After Nannini tried to gamble with the dry tyres towards the end, it looked like Edgar would do the same, but he came in to retire from the race after an off. The track conditions at Hungaroring after the morning’s rain proved to be a real problem for the drivers as many struggled with grip, causing them to run wide.
Lap 17 saw that with Stanek and Jenzer’s Jonathan Hoggard. In fact, the former had a contact with Cordeel to spin. There was another sort of race-ending contact between HWA’s Rafael Villagomez and Cohen. The latter came to a stop on track which caused a yellow flag. He was hit by Campos’ Laszlo Toth, who collided with Cohen’s stationary car, bringing out the safety car.
Fortunately, both were unharmed as the race finished under safety car, with a Prema 1-2, where Hauger registered his third win of the F3 season to extend his points lead, with Leclerc second and Doohan in third, leading the Trident trio.
Schumacher rounded out a solid weekend in fourth from Novalak, who fended off Smolyar, with Vesti in seventh from Caldwell, Fittipaldi and Sargeant in the Top 10, after the Prema driver fought back after an early off, with Iwasa ending up outside Top 10.
Hauger’s win draws him even closer to the championship trophy, as this win puts him at 152 points, still in the lead straying further ahead away from the pack, where Doohan is second with 89 and Caldwell in third with 86.
The article was written by Selena Aburas