Franco Colapinto earned his first race victory of the season, winning out in a dry to wet to dry Sprint Race at Silverstone. The MP Motorsport driver made a fast start and kept his head as the drama ramped up and the rain fell. Gabriel Bortoleto put in another mature drive to take yet more points in his Championship campaign while Christian Mansell earned his first Formula 3 podium with Campos Racing.
AS IT HAPPENED
As rain began to fall ahead of lights out, all bar Grégoire Saucy started on slicks. Pole sitter Sebastián Montoya kept the lead from pole, while Taylor Barnard surged up to second, passing Jonny Edgar around the outside at Turn 1.
Colapinto passed both in one move, diving to the inside at Village to go from fourth to second. A scruffy run through Maggotts and Becketts allowed Barnard to retake second later in the lap, while Luke Browning dispatched Edgar for fourth at Stowe. Gabriele Minì cleared the MP Motorsport driver on the run to the Vale Chicane and Edgar fell further down the order, passed by Bortoleto and Paul Aron entering Lap 2.
With DRS enabled, Bortoleto was able to pressure Minì ahead of him for fifth position. The Brazilian was through on the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver with some clever positioning of his car, forcing a lock-up from the Italian into the Vale Chicane on Lap 6.
The heavy rain finally arrived on Lap 8 and the Safety Car was deployed with all the drivers running slick tyres. Dino Beganovic took the opportunity to pit for wet tyres while the rest remained on track to join the Safety Car queue.
There were more takers on the following lap, led by Browning, who pitted from fourth position. He was followed in by Josep María Martí, Oliver Goethe, Zak O’Sullivan, Aron and the MP pair of Edgar and Mari Boya. Beganovic’s stop moved him up to P11 with only those on slicks and yet to pit ahead of him.
With positions one to 10 still on dry tyres and those behind on wets, the Safety Car was withdrawn entering Lap 13 with Barnard right on the rear wing of Montoya. The pair made contact at Turn 1, with Montoya falling to 15th and Barnard to third as a result.
Aron was immediately on the move, up to seventh by his wet tyres and fourth with five laps to go. As the rain eased off, those on slicks began to build tyre temperature and things began to fall to those on dries.
Minì had lost out to both PREMAs but was back up to fifth after passes on Beganovic and Aron on consecutive laps, still running on his dry tyres. Hugh Barter and Leonardo Fornaroli followed through to take sixth and seventh respectively on Lap 16.
After his spin, Montoya was back into the points and eighth, passing both of the wet-shod PREMAs down the Hangar Straight with three laps to go. Ido Cohen moved himself up to ninth at the expense of Aron as the track was now too dry for the wet tyres.
Out front, Colapinto remained out of trouble to secure the Sprint Race victory ahead of Bortoleto, who extended his Championship advantage.
On the final lap, Collet closed to within half a second of Christian Mansell in the fight for the final podium place but couldn’t find a route through on the Campos Racing driver, finishing fourth for Van Amersfoort Racing.
Minì was fifth in the end ahead of Hugh Barter, who secured his best F3 finish so far. Fornaroli secured seventh for Trident ahead of a recovering Montoya and Rodin Carlin’s Cohen, who earned his maiden points for Rodin Carlin. Martí made it three Campos cars inside the top 10 to round out the points.
KEY QUOTE – Franco Colapinto, MP Motorsport
“Super good race, super happy with the points and win. It was really tricky with the rain out there on the slicks and trying to make the right decision with the strategy, but the team did an amazing job, I just had to drive the car. We were really good today in terms of pace and I’m just super happy with the points. This one is for Dilano and for all his family and friend and all of MP Motorsport. We’re going through a difficult couple of days, so this one is for him and everyone in out there in Argentina, thank you for the support.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Gabriel Bortoleto’s P2 finish earned him a bigger advantage in the Drivers’ Championship, moving onto 120 points. Josep María Martí remains second now on 76 points, one point ahead of Dino Beganovic and Zak O’Sullivan stays fourth on 73. Gabriele Minì climbs up to fifth position on 71 points.
In the Teams’ Standings, PREMA Racing still lead but Trident close the gap, 213 points to 186. Hitech Pulse-Eight are still third in the order, now on 137 points.
The Formula 3 Feature Race rounds out the weekend. Action is set to begin bright and early at 08:20 local time.