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Verstappen wins frantic first Spa race as Ocon crashes out

by Peter Allen
Max Verstappen

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Max Verstappen claimed his second win in the FIA F3 European Championship in an eventful first Spa-Francorchamps race that saw championship leader Esteban Ocon retire after contact on lap one.

Ocon retained the lead from pole position into the first corner but was passed on the Kemmel Straight by Verstappen. Ocon then found himself squeezed between Antonio Fuoco and Lucas Auer entering Les Combes, forcing the Lotus F1 junior into retirement.

Despite a mid-race safety car when Antonio Giovinazzi and debutant Santino Ferrucci tangled and crashed heavily at Les Combes, Verstappen appeared to have the margin to second-placed Auer under control, but he was then caught by the Austrian on the penultimate lap.

It took an aggressive defensive move on the Kemmel Straight and contact between the pair for Belgian-born Verstappen to remain ahead and claim the victory.

Felix Rosenqvist also looked safe in third as the clock ticked down but he came under attack from Jake Dennis. Dennis got past into the Bus Stop for the penultimate time, and although Rosenqvist did get back ahead, he then fell down to seventh at the flag. Dennis thus completed the podium, just ahead of Carlin team-mate Tom Blomqvist, who was able to take a chunk out of Ocon’s championship lead. Fuoco held off Gustavo Menezes to claim fifth.

Felipe Guimaraes was eighth, Jules Szymkowiak made it all three Van Amersfoort Racing cars in the top ten, and Jordan King battled his way into tenth after starting on the back row.

Race results
Pos Driver? Team Time/Gap?
1 Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Racing 15 laps in 35’52.582
2 Lucas Auer Mucke Motorsport +0.817
3 Jake Dennis Carlin +4.225
4 Tom Blomqvist Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +4.670
5 Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam +7.392
6 Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Racing +7.799
7 Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Motorsport +9.427
8 Felipe Guimaraes Double R Racing +13.047
9 Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Racing +14.230
10 Jordan King Carlin +14.893
11 F?lix Serralles Team West-Tec +19.667
12 Spike Goddard ThreeBond with T-Sport +20.169
13 Nicholas Latifi Prema Powerteam +21.277
14 John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Motorsports +21.841
15 Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Racing +22.462
16 Roy Nissany Mucke Motorsport +23.240
17 Dennis van de Laar Prema Powerteam +25.584
18 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +26.183
19 Hector Hurst Team West-Tec +27.905
20 Mitch Gilbert Fortec Motorsports +29.256
21 Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Racing +31.463
22 Michele Beretta EuroInternational +32.505
Not classified
Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam with Carlin +10 laps
Santino Ferrucci EuroInternational +10 laps
Alexander Toril ThreeBond with T-Sport +13 laps
Esteban Ocon Prema Powerteam +15 laps