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Bortoleto victorious again as more Melbourne F3 chaos ensues behind

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Gabriel Bortoleto won another incident-packed Formula 3 race in Melbourne to continue his dream start in the championship. 

The Trident driver perfectly managed two safety car restarts on his way to his second feature race win from as many events, ahead of Gregoire Saucy. 

Bortoleto led from start to finish. After a strong initial start, the championship leader couldn’t shake Saucy on either of the safety car restarts. In the second half of the race, the top two were able to pull away from the rest of the field, but Saucy was never close enough to battle for position. 

Gabriele Mini lost touch with the front two but held onto third ahead of Leonardo Fornaroli and Zak O’Sullivan. 

Behind them, there was almost non-stop drama as the field continued to struggle to get to grips with the Albert Park circuit. 

The first incident came at the end of the opening lap, when Sebastian Montoya made contact with Christian Mansell, damaging his car. Montoya was able to get to an escape road before retiring.

Soon afterwards, Franco Colapinto made contact with Luke Browning, suffering a puncture and hitting the wall at Turn 5 hard.

As the safety car was brought out, another incident took a second MP Motorsport driver out of the race. Mari Boya ran into the back of Nikola Tsolov’s car on the approach to Turn 9. Tsolov was able to continue, but Boya was sent into the gravel at speed. 

Tsolov was then involved in another incident at the end of the safety car period. Just before the safety car was called in, Kaylen Frederick ran into the back of his ART Grand Prix team-mate, damaging his front suspension. 

Racing would resume on lap six, and the incidents continued. Piotr Wisnicki found the wall at the final corner but managed to limp across to the pits. Tsolov and Roberto Faria came together as Faria tried to find a way through. Neither car would be taken out of the race, but Faria was forced to pit for a new nose. 

Finally, Ido Cohen and Rafael Villagomez came together. The Carlin driver hit the wall at the exit of Turn 4 and the safety car was called out for a second time. 

Racing resumed on lap 16 and the second half of the race ran without safety cars, but not without incident. 

Nikita Bedrin hit the wall after a spin at the exit of turn one on the penultimate lap. The incident was covered with local yellows, allowing an intense battle for eighth to continue onto the final lap. 

While the positions at the top of the order didn’t change, there was a close battle for sixth through 10th in the closing stages of the race. Browning took sixth and managed to shake Ralf Aron when the Prema came under pressure from Caio Collet. 

The battle would end with Collet and Dino Beganovic making contact on the final lap. Collet was hit with a puncture and plummeted down the order, while Beganovic limped home in eighth with a damaged front wing. 

Pepe Marti finished ninth after a strong drive to climb up from the back of the grid, with Taylor Barnard completing the top 10. 

Race result (23 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident 43m41.950s
2 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix +0.596s
3 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP +3.032s
4 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +3.216s
5 Zak O’Sullivan Prema +3.564s
6 Luke Browning Hitech GP +4.191s
7 Paul Aron Prema +4.393s
8 Dino Beganovic Prema +8.557s
9 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +8.737s
10 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport +13.589s
11 Christian Mansell Campos Racing +14.356s
12 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport +14.928s
13 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +15.582s
14 Ollie Gray Carlin +18.766s
15 Hugh Barter Campos Racing +19.034s
16 Caio Collet Van Amersfoort Racing +19.426s
17 Hunter Yeany Carlin +19.645s
18 Sophia Floersch PHM by Charouz +23.606s
19 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +28.676s
20 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport +30.035s
21 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix +30.064s
22 Oliver Goethe Trident +56.084s
23 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport +1 lap
Ret Ido Cohen Carlin
Ret Roberto Faria PHM by Charouz
Ret Piotr Wisnicki PHM by Charouz
Ret Kaylen Frederick ART Grand Prix
Ret Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport
Ret Mari Boya MP Motorsport
Ret Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP
Fastest lap: Saucy, 1m34.405s

Championship standings
 Bortoleto 58   2 Saucy 38   3 Beganovic 32   4 Mini 28   5 Goethe 23   6 Marti 21   7 O’Sullivan 20   8 Aron 20   9 Fornaroli 19   10 Browning 18