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Browning controls Bahrain feature race to take FIA F3 points lead

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Hitech GP’s Luke Browning claimed victory in an action-packed first FIA Formula 3 feature race of the year at Bahrain.

The Williams junior resisted pressure from his competitors through the 22-lap race, and was also expressing engine woe concerns over the radio to his team. ART Grand Prix’s Christian Mansell and MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz joined the Briton on the podium, while a car issue ruled Prema’s poleman Dino Beganovic out of the fight for victory.

Browning took the lead at the start as Beganovic’s car immediately slowed down after a good getaway and dropped to the back of the pack. Trident’s Sami Meguetounif moved up to second from fourth on the grid, while Tramnitz gained four positions to be third at the end of lap one. Conversely, Prema’s Gabriele Mini dropped from third to sixth.

Campos Racing’s Mari Boya had to pit on lap two as he suffered a puncture when fighting for a spot in the points. Meanwhile, Mansell continued to progress from his starting position of eighth and was third by the end of lap three.

On lap six, Mansell passed Meguetounif for second place following a side-by-side battle that began at turn eight and was completed at turn 11. Browning had broken the DRS delta by then, but it did not last long as Mansell soon closed in with strong pace. But he was never close enough to launch an attack for the win.

The race progressed and the DRS train in the top 10 progressively became shorter. The top four left Trident’s Santiago Ramos over two seconds behind. Further down the order, ART GP’s Nikola Tsolov, Campos’s Oliver Goethe and MP’s Alex Dunne – who had a recovery race after being 17th on lap one – fought for the last points positions.

Tramnitz dived into the inside of Meguetounif at turn one with four laps to take third place. However, he lost DRS to Mansell as a result of his manoeuvre and would not be able to recover those critical tenths of a second to keep with the victory contenders.

After the initial struggles, Beganovic came back through the field with a strong pace. However, his recovery went unrewarded as he took the chequered flag in 13th place.

Race results (22 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Luke Browning Hitech GP 41m08.012s
2 Christian Mansell ART Grand Prix +1.264s
3 Tim Tramnitz MP Motorsport +2.432s
4 Sami Meguetounif Trident +5.654s
5 Santiago Ramos Trident +6.930s
6 Gabriele Mini Prema +8.200s
7 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +8.888s
8 Arvid Lindblad Prema +9.542s
9 Alex Dunne MP Motorsport +16.619s
10 Oliver Goethe Campos Racing +17.032s
11 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix +18.076s
12 Noel Leon Van Amersfoort Racing +19.451s
13 Dino Beganovic Prema +20.021s
14 Martinius Stenshorne Hitech GP +21.734s
15 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix +22.676s
16 Charlie Wurz Jenzer Motorsport +23.108s
17 Sebastian Montoya Campos Racing +23.679s
18 Nikita Bedrin PHM Racing +29.902s
19 Matias Zagazeta Jenzer Motorsport +30.847s
20 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak PHM Racing +34.409s
21 Callum Voisin Rodin Motorsport +35.839s
22 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +37.465s
23 Joseph Loake Rodin Motorsport +41.131s
24 Max Esterson Jenzer Motorsport +42.347s
25 Piotr Wisnicki Rodin Motorsport +52.341s
26 Cian Shields Hitech GP +53.921s
27 Joshua Dufek PHM Racing +59.979s
28 Kacper Sztuka MP Motorsport +1m03.836s
29 Mari Boya Campos Racing +1m28.231s
30 Sophia Floersch Van Amersfoort Racing +1 lap
Fastest lap: Beganovic, 1m50.261s

Championship standings
1 Browning 25   2 Tramnitz 21   3 Mansell 18   4 Fornaroli 15   5 Lindblad 14   6 Meguetounif 13   7 Mini 12   8 Van Hoepen 10   9 Ramos 10   10 Tsolov 7