Through all the overtakes, race-changing moments and shifts in momentum, Gabriel Bortoleto emerged from Spielberg with an even bigger lead than he entered with in the Drivers’ Championship. There were plenty of storylines going on during Round 6, and you might have missed a few of them.
Here is a team-by-team look back at the race weekend, and what to watch for at Silverstone.
Winners on Saturday, winners on Sunday, PREMA Racing is beginning to stamp authority on the Formula 3 season. Paul Aron made his breakthrough with a maiden win, while the team secured a second consecutive Feature Race triumph with Zak O’Sullivan. It was the Briton’s first victory on a Sunday, adding to his two Sprint wins already this year. Teammate Dino Beganovic was one of those fighting for victory in the Feature Race, but the Swede fell away from contention as his Pirelli tyres began to degrade.
It is now nine podiums so far this season for PREMA and the team extended its advantage of the Teams’ Standings. Now on 213 points, the Italian team has two of its three drivers in the top five of the Drivers’ Championship. It has also been six races since a PREMA driver failed to make the podium. Firing on all cylinders ahead of Silverstone, they were winners last time on British shores with Arthur Leclerc.
As rivals fell away in the Feature Race, there was one constant at the front of the pack, and there’s no prizes for guessing who at this stage of the season. He’s a Fernando Alonso protégé as part of the A14 Academy, and Gabriel Bortoleto is showing the cerebral approach that has defined the Spaniard throughout his Formula 1 career. Picking up more important points with P2 in the Spielberg Feature, Bortoleto has been showing his Championship-winning intelligence for a while now, scoring in every single race following the Sakhir Sprint. A 36-point lead will be tough to overcome without a serious change in fortunes in the remaining races.
Trident teammates Leonardo Fornaroli and Oliver Goethe both suffered tougher times around the Red Bull Ring. Both were able to put on an impressive comeback drive in the end, with Goethe up to P11 in the Feature Race, having stuttered off the line at the start. Fornaroli was able to salvage a point ahead of him in P10 having ended up 30th in Qualifying. Both will be targeting stronger points finishes next time out.
It was a costly non-score for Gabriele Minì in Spielberg as the Italian dropped to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship after a podium in the Sprint Race on Saturday. Minì had looked like being Bortoleto’s closest challenger in the Championship, but three non-points finishes in the last four races has put his title push on hold for now. The Hitech Pulse-Eight driver is clearly quick enough to fight at the front but will need some luck and some consistency before the summer break to close up on Bortoleto.
It was contact with teammate Luke Browning that put Minì out of contention and left the Briton with an uphill fight having sustained a puncture. Sebastián Montoya had his own woes too on a disappointing weekend for the Hitech squad. The Colombian looked like he might break into the podium places late on in the Feature Race but contact with Franco Colapinto ended his hopes and resulted in a trip through the gravel. A clean weekend will surely be rewarded with points, it’s just threading a clean race together that is the hurdle at the moment.
Josep María Martí couldn’t quite hold on for back-to-back race wins as the Spaniard’s race fell away along with the grip levels in his Pirelli tyres. Martí wasn’t too unhappy with ending up 12th in Qualifying having been competitive, but he lost points to Bortoleto in the Championship standings which must have been frustrating.
Christian Mansell showed some of his defensive prowess across the weekend but he, along with teammate Hugh Barter, was in the points on Sunday. It was both of their best results of the season so far, with Mansell seventh and Barter in eighth in the Feature Race. It marks the first time this season that all three Campos Racing drivers have each scored points in the same race.
Jonny Edgar enjoyed his best weekend of the season so far and first points scoring result since the Sakhir Sprint Race. The welcome results were P5 in the Sprint and P6 in the Feature, impressive results considering he’d started from 16th on the grid in both. The Briton now heads to Silverstone, his home race weekend and one where he’ll be hoping to build on this newfound momentum.
MP Motorsport teammates Franco Colapinto and Mari Boya endured differing fortunes. The Williams Academy driver just missed out on a podium, unable to keep Montoya from challenging which resulted in contact between the two and Caio Collet sneaking through for third. Boya was set to finish ahead of teammate Edgar in the Feature and carry on his Barcelona form until contact with Kaylen Frederick on Lap 17. Having been seventh at the time, it was a frustrating mistake, but his race pace has vastly improved from the early rounds this year.
Having had two cars in the top 10 following Qualifying, a single points-scoring result from a possible six was a very poor return for ART Grand Prix. Pole sitter Grégoire Saucy was taken out of contention following contact with PREMA’s Paul Aron early on in the Feature Race. Later on, Kaylen Frederick was taken out of points contention for a similar incident with Mari Boya, a big disappointment after the American’s hugely impressive display up to that point. He arguably pulled off overtake of the weekend, rounding Aron at Turn 1 all the way around the outside with millimetres separating the pair.
Nikola Tsolov’s tough rookie season continued with two P16 finishes in Spielberg. The Bulgarian’s form has fluctuated this year, and he is still seeking that maiden points finish in Formula 3. He has the talent, but Qualifying improvements will be needed in order to make sure he can move forward in the races and finally break into the points.
That was much more like it from Caio Collet. The Brazilian was in fine form this weekend, securing back-to-back P3 finishes in Spielberg with measured and impressive performances in equal part. The Van Amersfoort Racing driver stood on the podium for the first time since Round 1 in Sakhir, and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat in his ability to battle at the front in his absence. Carrying on this form will be an achievable aim.
Tommy Smith continued his improvements from earlier in the season, with the Australian battling away in the lower reaches of the top 20 in both races. Contact for Rafael Villagómez took him out of the running early on in the Sprint, but the Mexican driver was able to pull off some nice overtakes on the way to P15 on Sunday.
Just as it looked like Jenzer Motorsport was ready to capitalise on newfound speed, the team slumped to a point-less weekend in Spielberg. 18th, 22nd and 27th in Qualifying for Taylor Barnard, Nikita Bedrin and Alejandro García respectively made for a tough time, and despite the recent bright spots, there was nothing the trio could do to add to the team’s points tally around the Red Bull Ring. Barnard will aim to maximise his previous experience around Silverstone for his home event.
Oliver Gray equalled his best finish of the season so far with 14th in the Feature Race. It was a nice bounce back following his crash with Villagómez in the Sprint event. Hunter Yeany and Ido Cohen had tougher times on Sunday, unable to break into the top 15 despite a 19th and 17th place finish in the Sprint respectively the day prior. Yeany had scored a season-best P13 finish, but was penalised post-race and relegated to 21st as a result of a time penalty. Rodin Carlin will be hoping for a better time of it at Silverstone, the team’s home race and a circuit with which it has plenty of previous experience and success.
The points scoring finish for Sophia Floersch may have been rescinded following a post-race disqualification, but it was a hugely positive weekend for PHM Racing by Charouz otherwise. Improved race pace, a clean weekend for all three of their drivers give the team a solid platform from which to build on for the remainder of the year. Floersch put in a very impressive drive en route to P9 on the road, while newcomer McKenzy Cresswell finished 17th in his first FIA F3 Feature Race. Roberto Faria narrowly missed out on equalling his best result by one place too.