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Blomqvist wins first Spielberg race after Ocon and Verstappen tangle

by Peter Allen
Tom Blomqvist

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Tom Blomqvist led a one-two finish for the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin team in the opening FIA F3 European Championship race at Spielberg after rivals Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen made contact fighting for the lead at the first corner.

Verstappen got a slightly better launch than pole-sitter Ocon, but the Frenchman still headed into the braking zone ahead. But as Ocon moved to the left to take the racing line around turn one, Verstappen dived for the inside.

It appeared that Ocon did not leave enough space for the two of them, and contact was made that fired Ocon off into the runoff area. Verstappen fell to sixth, and second row starters Blomqvist and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi headed off up front.

At one stage, Giovinazzi got close enough to Blomqvist to launch an attack but the Briton stayed ahead and opened up a margin that was extended to four seconds in the last few laps.

Verstappen came back to third, passing Felix Rosenqvist and Jake Dennis after contact was made in their scrap for the final podium place. Dennis eventually got past the Swede to clinch fourth.

Rosenqvist held onto fifth ahead of Antonio Fuoco. Nicholas Latifi spun out of seventh in the middle of the race, promoting Gustavo Menezes and Jordan King. King was able to claim seventh around the outside of turn five when Menezes attacked Fuoco but was run wide, but Menezes fought back and retook the position before the end.

King then fell to ninth on the last lap behind Dennis van de Laar, while home favourite Lucas Auer completed the top ten after a five-place grid penalty carried over from Moscow for contact with King left him starting 13th.

After dropping to the back of the pack, Ocon recovered as far as 13th place.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap?
1 Tom Blomqvist Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 24 laps in 34:22.248
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +4.089
3 Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Racing +8.671
4 Jake Dennis Carlin +11.750
5 Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Motorsport +13.187
6 Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam +15.652
7 Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Racing +16.416
8 Dennis van de Laar Prema Powerteam +20.375
9 Jordan King Carlin +20.970
10 Lucas Auer Mucke Motorsport +21.531
11 Roy Nissany Mucke Motorsport +27.718
12 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +28.487
13 Esteban Ocon Prema Powerteam +29.038
14 Felix Serralles Team West-Tec +31.778
15 Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Racing +32.544
16 Hector Hurst Team West-Tec +43.387
17 Alexander Toril ThreeBond with T-Sport +43.788
18 Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Racing +45.608
19 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports +46.950
20 John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Motorsports +49.174
21 Richard Goddard ThreeBond with T-Sport +53.067
22 Michele Beretta EuroInternational +1:05.641
Not classified
Santino Ferrucci EuroInternational +5 laps
Ed Jones Carlin +7 laps
Nicholas Latifi Prema Powerteam +10 laps
Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Racing +11 laps