MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto won a safety car-riddled first FIA Formula 3 race at Albert Park in Melbourne.
Four safety cars periods disrupted running during the 20-lap reversed-grid sprint race, which ended behind the safety car. Colapinto managed to avoid the chaos and cruise past Sebastian Montoya just before the second safety car period, taking the lead and eventually the win while Montoya slipped back to third.
Luke Browning was the driver on Montoya’s tail in the first half of the race. Browning pushed hard, forcing Montoya to defend, but a trip over the kerbs sent the chasing Hitech GP driver airborne and seemed to damage the car.
As Browning slipped backwards, Colapinto took second before a strong move on Montoya put him in the lead, just before the safety car was brought out.
Racing had already been paused on lap one when Oliver Goethe ran into the gravel with a puncture, sustained during contact with Browning. Ido Cohen entered the gravel to cause the second interruption, as after battling with Hugh Barter he hit the wall at Turn 8, damaging the right-hand side of his car and then sliding into the gravel.
Colapinto was untouchable on the following restart and pulled away from Montoya until the safety car was brought out again on lap 13 after Tommy Smith ran wide at the final corner and hit the wall.
Again, Colapinto got a good restart when racing resumed, while Montoya came under pressure from Zak O’Sullivan.
As Colapinto pulled away, the two behind ran side by side, allowing Paul Aron and Dino Beganovic to close onto the back of them. O’Sullivan was able to find a way around the outside of Montoya to take second, and Montoya stayed on his tail but could not find a way back through.
O’Sullivan had no time to close the gap to Colapinto before the safety car was brought out for a fourth and final time after Alex Garcia found the barriers.
Just outside the podium, Paul Aron took fourth after a hard-fought battle with Beganovic who was forced wide, allowing Gabriele Mini through to take fifth. Gabriel Bortoleto was battling Beganovic after that, but the safety car brought an end to the fight and he had to settle for seventh.
After his trip over the kerbs, Browning slipped back down the order with an apparent issue with the car. He was then handed a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision, dropping him from 11th to 20th.
Sprint race result (20 laps)
|1||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||42m05.614s|
|3||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||+0.703s|
|5||Gariele Mini||Hitech GP||+1.262s|
|9||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||+3.476s|
|10||Gregoire Saucy||ART Grand Prix||+3.982s|
|11||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport||+6.026s|
|12||Christian Mansell||Campos Racing||+7.811s|
|13||Kaylen Frederick||ART Grand Prix||+8.807s|
|14||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix||+9.300s|
|15||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer Motorsport||+10.397s|
|16||Pepe Marti||Campos Racing||+11.493s|
|17||Rafael Villagomez||Van Amersfoort Racing||+13.509s|
|18||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer Motorsport||+13.620s|
|19||Sophia Floersch||PHM by Charouz||+14.186s|
|20||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||+15.196s|
|21||Roberto Faria||PHM by Charouz||+16.297s|
|22||Hugh Barter||Campos Racing||+16.816s|
|24||Caio Collet||Van Amersfoort Racing||+19.286s|
|26||Piotr Wisnicki||PHM by Charouz||+21.029s|
|Ret||Alex Garcia||Jenzer Motorsport|
|Ret||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Fastest lap: Colapinto, 1m34.270s