Formula 3 Europe: Stroll, Ilott and Günther winners at Paul Ricard
The first round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship was held at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with three different winners in three races. Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) won race 1, Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) won race 2 and Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) was the winner of the last race.
Stroll opened the season with pole and victory
The Canadian Lance Stroll started his second season in the Formula 3 European Championship with pole position and victory in Race 1. In the first Saturday’s race at the 3.841.km long French circuit 17-year-old Stroll won ahead a teammate Nick Cassidy. British driver George Russell (HitechGP) claimed third place, finishing ahead of his teammate and the best-placed rookie driver Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP).
Lance Stroll started from pole and lost the lead in the opening lap from Cassidy, but he retook the lead on Lap 2 and remained in front until the finish of the 25-lap race. George Russell started better than rookie driver Niko Kari (Motopark), who was third on the grid, and moved up into third place. Niko Kari later had a collision with his team-mate Sergio Sette Câmara and felt to eighth place. Maximilian Günther finished fifth in Race 1, ahead of Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam). Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) claimed the final point-scoring positions by finishing ninth and tenth respectively.
Ilott took the lead and victory after a massive accident in the opening lap
In a second Saturday’s race Callum Ilott scored his maiden victory in the Formula 3 European Championship. The 17-year-old Brit finished ahead of Nick Cassidy in second, while the best-placed rookie driver Guanyu Zhou (Motopark) took the third podium place. The 16-year-old Zhou secured the first-ever podium finish by a Chinese driver in the Formula 3 European Championship.
A massive accident happended in the first corner of the opening lap. Ben Barnicoat missed his braking point and hit Lance Stroll, who then collected Joel Eriksson (Motopark). The poleman Maximilian Günther and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) also were victims. The safety car was deployed for the first time. Nick Cassidy took the lead after re-start but lost it on Lap 11 after made a mistake when the rain increased. Ilott took the lead and remained in front until the end. The safety car was out one more time after Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) had spun. Mikkel Jensen finished fourth ahead of Sergio Sette Câmara, Alessio Lorandi (Carlin), Ryan Tveter (Carlin), Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing), Joel Eriksson and Raoul Hyman (Carlin).
Nick Cassidy again in the second place
In a third race, which had no safety car interventions, Maximilian Günther again started from pole and led from start to finish. Nick Cassidy finished in second place third time in a row. He tried to attack Günther few times, including the very last turn of the last lap, but lost for 0.251 seconds. Last years’s ADAC F4 runner-up Joel Eriksson scored his maiden Formula 3 podium.
Far behind leading trio Mikkel Jensen finished fourth, with Lance Strol behind his back. Other points scorers were Anthoine Hubert, Ralf Aron, Guanyu Zhou, Alessio Lorandi and Nikita Mazepin.
With three second places Nick Cassidy is leading the championship classification. The next round of the Formula 3 European Championship is schedled for April 22-24 at the Hungaroring.