Caio Collet brought home his second win of the 2022 Formula 3 campaign in an impressive fashion, executing a textbook getaway to immediately fight for the lead and once he got it, the MP Motorsport driver never looked back – finishing four seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Juan Manuel Correa defended all the way to the chequered flag, holding off a parade of cars behind without the advantage of DRS, to claim his first podium in the Championship. Zak O’Sullivan made a return to the podium after fighting up front on the opening lap.
Jonny Edgar achieved his best-ever result in fourth, as Grégoire Saucy added more points to his tally in fifth ahead of title contenders Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins. Sebastian Montoya held his nerve on his F3 debut to claim eighth ahead of Jak Crawford and Roman Stanek.
AS IT HAPPENED
Dominating the front row were two black and white ART Grand Prix cars, as Correa lined up on reverse grid pole ahead of teammate Saucy, while O’Sullivan and Collet lay in wait just behind. In his first Formula 3 race, Sebastian Montoya found himself sitting in P6. Meanwhile, title protagonists could be found up and down the field, with Hadjar in seventh ahead of Stanek and Crawford in ninth and tenth. The third ART of Martins lined up P11, while PREMA Racing’s Oliver Bearman and Arthur Leclerc started in 13th and 20th respectively.
With the tight run down into Turn 1, nailing their getaways would be vital and Correa did just that, moving to cover off a strong starting O’Sullivan who got the jump on Saucy off the line, with the Swiss driver dropping down to fifth. He wasn’t the only one making moves into the opening corners, with MP Motorsport’s Caio Collet making his way through to second from fourth, whilst Bearman climbed up into the points by the end of Lap 1.
Both Tridents found themselves facing a difficult start, as Franco Colapinto tagged the rear of Roman Stanek in Turn 1, forcing Zane Maloney to take evasive action through the gravel trap and dropping the Bajan driver to the back of the field.
Out front, Collet was ready for his opportunity to pounce on Lap 4 and take the race lead from Correa. Attempting to make the move stick around the outside of Turn 1, the Brazilian dipped his wheels across the kerbs into Turn 3, allowing the ART driver to use the momentum from the top of the banking to hold him off.
However, Collet wasn’t done yet and one lap later he got the traction that he needed, going deeper on the brakes to try another daring move into Turn 3. Going side-by-side, neither driver wanted to yield but the MP car managed to keep his foot to the floor a fraction longer to get the overtake done and began pulling away from the American.
Whilst Correa found himself forced to go on the defensive from the DRS train behind, there was a battle unfolding at the back of that pack with Stanek closing in on Bearman, aiming to demote his title rival out of the points in P10.
Things began to settle down towards the mid-point of the race, as the medium Pirelli compounds began to fade, leaving those who managed the yellow-walled tyres the best with the upper hand towards the latter stages of the 21-lap Sprint Race.
Approaching the final seven laps, Bearman’s defence came underdone with a wobble into Turn 4. The Ferrari Academy junior went over the kerbs and across the grass, dropping him behind Stanek.
Meanwhile, Montoya’s introduction to life in F3 was far from easy, as the Campos Racing driver had been put under pressure by Crawford for eighth from the start of the race. Taking advantage of the slipstream along the main straight, the PREMA driver attempted to slip past him into Turn 1, but the Colombian driver showed him the door.
Leclerc’s quest to move up into the points wasn’t going as easily as planned from P20. By the end of the penultimate lap, the Monegasque driver had moved up to P14 and set out to get past Colapinto. Unfortunately, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver had the same idea and tried a move of his own on Alexander Smolyar, whose shaky defence allowed both drivers to get the jump, with Leclerc moving ahead of the Argentine in the process.
As the chequered flag was waved, it was Collet who was in a league of his own, taking the victory four seconds clear of Correa and O’Sullivan and snatching the point for fastest lap along the way. Edgar finished in fourth as Saucy and Martins ensured all three ART cars finished inside the points, with Hadjar’s Hitech Grand Prix car splitting the two teammates. Montoya, Crawford and Stanek rounded out the top 10, as Bearman and Leclerc were forced to settle for no points in 11th and 12th respectively.
KEY QUOTE – Caio Collet, MP Motorsport
“Really happy to get my second win of the season, especially in Zandvoort at MP’s home track. It’s really, really special for me and for them, big thanks to them for the car. It was a nice race, and we keep pushing for a few points tomorrow.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Adding the five points to sixth and bringing his 2022 tally to 111 points, Isack Hadjar holds a three-point lead over Victor Martins. Finishing without points for the first time since the Spielberg Sprint Race, Oliver Bearman falls to third, six points behind the leading Red Bull junior. Arthur Leclerc sits in fourth on 101 points, as Roman Stanek looms ever closer to the top four in fifth.
Two drivers inside the top four has allowed Trident to cut PREMA Racing’s advantage in the Teams’ Championship slightly to 78 points. The battle for third remains as close as ever with MP Motorsport on 178 points, six points ahead of ART Grand Prix. Hitech Grand Prix remains comfortably in fifth on 138.
Zane Maloney will be set on going two-for-two as he lines up P1 in Sunday’s Feature Race when the field hits the track at 8:45 local time.