Home Featured Tsolov takes commanding first F3 win in red-flagged Monaco sprint

Tsolov takes commanding first F3 win in red-flagged Monaco sprint

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Alpine Formula 1 junior Nikola Tsolov took his first Formula 3 win in the Monaco sprint race, which was red-flagged following a first-lap pile-up.

While Tsolov kept the lead from reversed-grid pole position at the start, Tim Tramnitz got up the inside of Laurens van Hoepen to take second place. Behind, Joseph Loake bounced over the inside of the corner as he tried to fight Noel Leon for fourth.

Further back, Luke Browning went around the outside of Arvid Lindblad in Ste Devote and then Leonardo Fornaroli around the outside of Massenet to move up to eighth.

Lindblad then tangled with Christian Mansell as he tried to turn through Casino Square, triggering a pile-up that also eliminated Alex Dunne, Josh Dufek and Cian Shields. A red flag was required for a lengthy cleanup process, with the Monaco marshals having their experience tested by two pairs of conjoined cars.

When the race eventually resumed with a rolling restart, Tsolov immediately built a 1.5-second gap over Tramnitz in the first lap of racing.

Tramnitz responded with a fastest lap on the following tour to cut the gap back to 1s, but Tsolov would pull away once more and was 3.6s clear when the safety car deployed on lap 13 of 23 after Kacper Sztuka stopped out of Ste Devote – seemingly following contact with Sophia Floersch, who also retired after front wing damage.

At the restart with eight laps remaining, Tsolov once again created a 1.5s gap to Tramnitz within one lap.

Race direction then noted Tsolov for potentially weaving at the restart, which is not permitted from the entry to Rascasse. Tsolov’s ART Grand Prix team told him to try and increase his lead from 2.3s to 5s to cover any possible penalty, and he quickly pulled over 4s clear, but by then it had been decided that no further investigation was needed anyway.

Tramnitz held off van Hoepen by 0.8s at the line, with Loen just 0.1s further back in fourth. Loake resisted Mari Boya to finish fifth, having been comfortably clear prior to the second safety car.

Dino Beganovic secured the bonus points for fastest lap in seventh ahead of championship rivals Browning and Fornaroli. Gabriele Mini finished just outside the points in 11th having been passed by Oliver Goethe just as the Lindblad-Mansell collision was happening ahead of them.

Race result (23 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix 59m09.511s
2 Tim Tramnitz MP Motorsport +4.328s
3 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix +5.173s
4 Noel Leon Van Amersfoort Racing +5.310s
5 Joseph Loake Rodin Motorsport +6.489s
6 Mari Boya Campos Racing +6.891s
7 Dino Beganovic Prema +7.732s
8 Luke Browning Hitech GP +12.658s
9 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +12.971s
10 Oliver Goethe Campos Racing +14.964s
11 Gabriele Mini Prema +15.337s
12 Callum Voisin Rodin Motorsport +19.472s
13 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +20.161s
14 Max Esterson Jenzer Motorsport +24.341s
15 Santiago Ramos Trident +24.747s
16 Martinius Stenshorne Hitech GP +25.093s
17 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak AIX Racing +27.444s
18 Sebastian Montoya Campos Racing +28.335s
19 Charlie Wurz Jenzer Motorsport +29.068s
20 James Hedley Jenzer Motorsport +38.344s
21 Piotr Wisnicki Rodin Motorsport +46.393s
22 Sami Meguetounif Trident +3 laps
Ret Nikita Bedrin AIX Racing
Ret Sophia Floersch Van Amersfoort Racing
Ret Kacper Sztuka MP Motorsport
Ret Arvid Lindblad Prema
Ret Christian Mansell ART Grand Prix
Ret Joshua Dufek AIX Racing
Ret Alex Dunne MP Motorsport
Ret Cian Shields Hitech GP
Fastest lap: Beganovic, 1m24.919s

Championship standings
Fornaroli 54   2 Browning 52   3 Beganovic 50   4 Mini 47   5 Goethe 42   6 Meguetounif 38   7 Tramnitz 39   8 Lindblad 32   9 van Hoepen 30   10 Boya 24