Reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion Oscar Piastri took a commanding race win in the season-opening FIA Formula 3 race at the Red Bull Ring.
The run down to Turn 1 on the opening lap proved critical to the outcome of the race as ART Grand Prix’s poleman Sebastian Fernandez went three-wide with Trident’s Lirim Zendeli and Prema’s Piastri.
Fernandez came off worst as he spun off the track and later retired, while Piastri took the lead from third on the grid and Zendeli slotted into second place.
Piastri crucially built an early lead and avoided enabling DRS usage for Zendeli, who had his mirrors swamped with Piastri’s team-mates and Campos Racing’s Alex Peroni.
On lap five of 24, Prema’s Logan Sargeant passed Zendeli at Turn 4 but ran wide on the corner’s exit and had to repeat the overtake on the next lap. Zendeli lost two positions in one corner as Peroni followed Sargeant through and claimed third.
Piastri remained untroubled up front to win on his FIA F3 debut, while Sargeant and Peroni took their first series podiums in second and third. It was Peroni’s first race since his back-breaking crash at Monza last year.
Frederik Vesti ensured three Prema drivers finished inside the top four, while Zendeli settled for fifth place.
Hitech GP’s Liam Lawson charged from 12th on the grid to finish in sixth place, with Trident’s David Beckmann starting and finishing in seventh.
Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor was eighth for MP Motorsport, with ART’s Alexander Smolyar and BRDC British F3 champion Clement Novalak (Carlin) rounding out the points. The new 2020 rules means Novalak will start the reversed grid race two from pole.
On his FIA F3 debut, Charouz Racing System’s Igor Fraga charged from last on the grid to finish in 16th place, but was under investigation, one place ahead of fellow debutant and team-mate Roman Stanek.
HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes qualified well but a technical issue meant he started the race late and finished 28th.
Race results (24 laps)
|3||Alex Peroni||Campos Racing||+3.000s|
|6||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||+10.818s|
|8||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+13.800s|
|9||Alexander Smolyar||ART Grand Prix||+14.194s|
|11||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||+15.477s|
|12||Max Fewtrell||Hitech GP||+22.398s|
|13||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+22.921s|
|14||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab||+25.218s|
|15||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||+26.634s|
|16||Igor Fraga||Charouz Racing System||+27.131s|
|17||Roman Stanek||Charouz Racing System||+27.587s|
|18||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||+27.874s|
|19||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer Motorsport||+29.229s|
|21||Calan Williams||Jenzer Motorsport||+29.930s|
|24||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||+31.123s|
|25||David Schumacher||Charouz Racing System||+35.204s|
|26||Sophia Floersch||Campos Racing||+35.838s|
|27||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer Motorsport||+36.354s|
|28||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+37.545s|
|29||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing||+1 lap|
|Ret||Sebastian Fernandez||ART Grand Prix|
|Fastest lap: Peroni, 1m21.602s