Home Featured Leclerc victorious in three-way fight at Spa, takes championship lead

Leclerc victorious in three-way fight at Spa, takes championship lead

by Gruz David
Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Charles Leclerc collected his third race win of the FIA F3 campaign at Spa-Francorchamps, taking advantage of a heated fight between rivals Felix Rosenqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi to steal the lead in the standings.

Damp conditions welcomed the field at the start but no drivers opted for wet tyres. And although the front row was locked out by Prema duo Rosenqvist and Jake Dennis, it was Giovinazzi?who jumped into the lead after a storming start.

The first laps saw spins for Markus Pommer and Gustavo Menezes but the race stayed green.

The top four of Giovinazzi, Rosenqvist, Dennis and Leclerc managed to build a gap in the early stages and?Rosenqvist quickly reclaimed the lead with a pass on the Kemmel straight. But he remained there for only a handful of laps as Giovinazzi then pulled off an audacious move into Les Combes.

Meanwhile, Leclerc was also able to progress and overtook Dennis, who soon started to lose touch with the top three.

As a result, the battle for the win turned into a three-way fight but for a while the order amongst them remained stationary, with only a couple of unsuccessful attempts from both Rosenqvist and Leclerc.

With three laps to go, however, they all entered Les Combes virtually side-by-side with Rosenqvist trying to make a move on the outside of the corner.

The Swede was forced onto the wet kerb after slight contact with a blocking Giovinazzi, which meant Rosenqvist could not take the turn.

It was the Italian who got the worse of the situation though, as he suffered a puncture and was forced to retire.

As such, Leclerc inherited the lead and cruised to the checkered flag, while Rosenqvist survived in second.

Signature’s Alex Albon and Mucke’s Santino Ferrucci secured third and fourth, having passed the dropping Dennis during the final laps.

George Russell ended up sixth, finishing closely behind Dennis, while Mikkel Jensen, pole-sitter for race two, took seventh.

Pietro Fittipaldi was eighth ahead of Fabian Schiller, who celebrated his first point-scoring finish of the season, and karting graduate Alessio Lorandi.

Minor incidents aside, it was a return to form for the FIA F3 series after an incident-packed Monza outing, with no safety car appearances or serious collisions this time around.

Race one results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing 16 laps in 35:35.057
2 Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam +1.511
3 Alex Albon Signature +2.651
4 Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport +3.938
5 Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam +6.460
6 George Russell Carlin +7.388
7 Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport +15.550
8 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsport +18.333
9 Fabian Schiller West-Tec +20.096
10 Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing +22.600
11 Ryan Tveter Carlin +23.133
12 Sam MacLeod Motopark +23.667
13 Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport +24.220
14 Callum Ilott Carlin +30.581
15 Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam +30.735
16 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark +33.597
17 Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing +34.095
18 Dorian Boccolacci Signature +34.417
19 Markus Pommer Motopark +38.648
20 Martin Cao Fortec Motorsport +43.779
21 Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport +44.009
22 Gustavo Menezes Carlin +45.230
23 Matt Rao Fortec Motorsport +47.351
24 Nabil Jeffri Motopark +49.410
25 Tatiana Calderon Carlin +49.958
26 Kang Ling Mucke Motorsport +50.846
27 Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing +53.833
28 Julio Moreno T-Sport +54.500
29 Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark +1:21.234
30 Raoul Hyman West-Tec +1:25.728
31 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam +1:31.946
Not classified
Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin +3 laps
Matt Solomon Double R Racing +4 laps