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Rosenqvist survives three restarts to win first European F3 race of 2015

by Peter Allen
Felix Rosenqvist

Photo: Paul Davies Photography

Felix Rosenqvist claimed victory in a first race of the 2015 FIA F3 European Championship that was punctuated by three safety car periods.

Morning rain meant the circuit was damp and although the drivers started on slick tyres, the race began with two laps behind the safety car.

At the restart there was chaos before the drivers even got to the line. Charles Leclerc attempt to put a move on George Russell into Vale but the pair made contact that dropped both down the order.

Brandon Maisano spun trying to avoid them and stalled, while Kang Ling also later arrived on the scene backwards after contact from another car.

There was another clash in the same place at the second restart involving Ryan Tveter and Arjun Maini, with both cars retiring.

The third safety car was necessitated when Alessio Lorandi‘s car racing debut ended in the gravel trap at Luffield.

Rosenqvist had built a three-second lead over Antonio Giovinazzi at that point, but held on in the final part of the race to win by just under a second.

Jake Dennis finished third as the top three maintained their grid positions.

Alex Albon avoided the start melee to take fourth and the honours of best rookie for the returning Signature team.

German F3 champion Markus Pommer was fifth ahead of Lance Stroll, while Gustavo Menezes made good progress after the second restart to take seventh.

Russell dropped as low as 18th after the incident with Leclerc but he put in a fantastic recovery over the limited number of green flag laps.

The BRDC F4 champion – who has qualified on the front row for race two – was 13th at the final restart but made up five places in the final three laps to finish eighth.

On the last lap he relegated fellow debutants Maximilian Gunther and Callum Ilott to ninth and tenth respectively. Ilott had a strong first race however, including a fine move around the outside of Stowe on Nicolas Beer.

Leclerc had to come from further back than Russell but also made good late progress, finishing 12th at the flag. The Monegasque driver gets to start from pole position in the remaining two races at Silverstone.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam 15 laps in 36:44.906
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin +0.938
3 Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam +2.681
4 Alex Albon Signature +4.767
5 Markus Pommer Motopark +5.229
6 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam +6.175
7 Gustavo Menezes Carlin +6.934
8 George Russell Carlin +7.470
9 Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport +7.897
10 Callum Ilott Carlin +8.531
11 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports +9.886
12 Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing +10.282
13 Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport +12.464
14 Nicolas Beer Eurointernational +13.147
15 Nabil Jeffri Motopark +14.060
16 Fabian Schiller West-Tec +14.915
17 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark +15.486
18 Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport +15.884
19 Raoul Hyman West-Tec +17.549
20 Tatiana Calderon Carlin +17.939
21 Dorian Boccolacci Signature +18.687
22 Sam MacLeod Motopark +19.510
23 Martin Cao Fortec Motorsports +20.021
24 Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport +20.304
25 Matt Solomon Double R Racing +22.949
26 Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark +28.887
27 Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing +30.780
28 Julio Moreno T-Sport +33.168
Not classified
Kang Ling Mucke Motorsport + 4 laps
Peter Li Fortec Motorsports +5 laps
Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing +7 laps
Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing +9 laps
Ryan Tveter Carlin +10 laps
Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam +14 laps
Matt Rao Fortec Motorsports +14 laps