Yuki Tsunoda has taken his maiden FIA Formula 3 win in a thrilling second race at Monza, beating fellow Red Bull junior Liam Lawson.
As the lights went out, it was Jake Hughes who got the best start on the wet track, taking the lead from pole-sitter Fabio Scherer, having started third on the grid, and the HWA Racelab driver went on to settle in at the front whilst the others battled hard for second behind him.
Tsunoda managed to pass Scherer for second on lap two, and the Jenzer Motorsport driver then set off in pursuit of Hughes and had closed the gap down by lap 5, when the pair came together at Turn 1.
Despite the contact, both drivers managed to escape without any damage, although the incident left Tsunoda dropping off Hughes and back into Scherer’s grasp.
On lap eight, Scherer tried to pass Tsunoda going into Turn 1, but was forced to back out of it, which allowed Lawson to attempt a move on Scherer at the next chicane, although the wet conditions meant he was unable to slow down in time and had to back out of it.
But two laps later Scherer went wide whilst braking for Turn 1, and Lawson made his move up to third, while Richard Verschoor also managed to get passed Scherer for fourth at the same spot on lap 11.
With the track conditions getting drier as the race went on, Hughes’ engineer was on the radio telling him to cool his tyres, but the 25-year-old was unable to hear what they were saying, and this allowed Tsunoda to close the gap, having looked after his tyres better.
The pair went clear of the rest of the field in the battle for the lead, and at the mid-way stage, had a three second gap to Lawson in third.
Tsunoda eventually managed to take the lead away from Hughes at Turn 1 on lap 15, but a lap later Hughes made a great move around the outside of his Red Bull Junior rival at the Parabolica to get into first, only for Tsunoda to get the place back at the end of the start-finish straight.
That fight allowed Lawson to close up on the pair, making it a three-way fight for the lead, and he eventually passed Hughes for second on lap 18.
Richard Vershoor ended the race in fourth, while Pedro Piquet made a late pass on Leonardo Pulcini for fifth place on the last lap.
Scherer ended up falling back through the field to finish seventh, ahead of championship leader Robert Shwartzman, while Christian Lundgaard and Logan Sargeant rounded out the top ten.
Although it was a difficult race for Shwartzman, he still extended his championship lead, with his title rivals Juri Vips, Jehan Daruvala and Marcus Armstrong all failing to score points, as the trio finished 11th, 13th and 14th respectively.
Shwartzman’s lead is now 33 points over Daruvala going to the final round in Sochi, with Vips and Armstrong slipping out of contention.
Race results (22 laps)
|1||Yuki Tsunoda||Jenzer Motorsport||41m11.470s|
|2||Liam Lawson||MP Motorsport||+1.312s|
|3||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+2.018s|
|4||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+2.803s|
|6||Leonardo Pulcini||Hitech GP||+7.930s|
|7||Fabio Scherer||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+14.329s|
|9||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix||+15.019s|
|11||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||+16.417s|
|17||Raoul Hyman||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+25.970s|
|18||Lirim Zendeli||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+30.267s|
|19||Yifei Ye||Hitech GP||+35.425s|
|20||Simo Laaksonen||MP Motorsport||+36.412s|
|21||Max Fewtrell||ART Grand Prix||+37.328s|
|22||Keyvan Andres||HWA Racelab||+38.842s|
|23||Giorgio Carrara||Jenzer Motorsport||+44.302s|
|24||Andreas Estner||Jenzer Motorsport||+47.238s|
|25||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing||+1m16.932s|
|26||Sebastian Fernandez||Campos Racing||+1m37.975s|
|27||Bent Viscaal||HWA Racelab||+1 lap|
|28||David Beckmann||ART Grand Prix||+1 lap|
|29||Teppei Natori||Carlin||+1 lap|
|Fastest lap: Vips, 1m48.890s