Lorenzo Colombo clinched a first Formula 3 victory for both himself and Campos Racing, enjoying a breakthrough moment as he took his first points in the Championship, becoming the eighth different winner of the season.
The Italian – who dedicated the win to the team’s late founder Adrian Campos - had to work hard for it, keeping a calm head off the line before sweeping past polesitter Jonny Edgar. It was a disastrous morning for the Carlin Buzz driver, who lost power at the end of the move and was forced to retire.
Ayumu Iwasa was unable to trouble Colombo – who survived a Safety Car restart - but did see off the challenge of the more experienced Olli Caldwell in third. The PREMA racer moves up to second in the standings after a difficult day for title rival Frederik Vesti, who pulled to a stop on the tarmac midway through the race.
Caldwell’s PREMA teammate Dennis Hauger made up four places to strengthen his grip on the Drivers’ Championship, finishing sixth, behind Logan Sargeant and Clément Novalak.
AS IT HAPPENED
After experiencing blistering 64-degree track heat on Friday, the field were greeted by contrasting conditions on Saturday morning, with dark clouds looming over the Hungaroring track and temperature down to 33 degrees.
There had been a spritz of rain earlier on in the morning, but the circuit had dried in time for Edgar to pull away from pole. Launching his Carlin Buzz machine into the centre of the circuit, Edgar held onto the lead ahead of the first turn but had Colombo following in tow.
The Italian had a go at Turn 1 and very briefly pulled ahead after Edgar locked up, but the duo kissed tyres at the second turn and the Campos was sent ever so slightly wide, allowing the Briton to claw back in front.
Edgar was clinging on to first, but Colombo and Ayumu Iwasa were turning the time screen purple as they continued to harass the race leader. Closing the gap down to just two tenths, Colombo made his move around the outside of Turn 1, pulling off a DRS-enthused overtake.
Edgar’s morning went from bad to worse, the Carlin driver lost power and pace at the exit of Turn 1 and was forced to pull to a stop. His retirement handed a podium place to Caldwell and the second-year PREMA racer set about catching the rookie duo in front of him.
Championship leader Hauger had gotten a great launch off the line, jumping both Jack Doohan and Frederik Vesti for ninth when the lights went out. Promoted to P8 after Edgar’s retirement, the Norwegian turned that into seventh with an all-too-easy pass on David Schumacher.
Vesti’s championship chances had been bruised by Hauger’s pass at the start of the race and things didn’t get any better for the Dane, as his ART lost power and forced him to pull up onto the tarmac.
A Safety Car was required to get rid of the ART and that spelt bad news for Colombo. The Campos driver had built up a 1.4s advantage at the front, but he’d need to do it all again. The Italian showed confidence when action resumed, though, and maintained his lead over Iwasa. Hauger benefitted from the restart, jumping the second ART of Alex Smolyar for sixth.
There wasn’t enough time left for Hauger to catch Novalak or Sargeant in fifth and fourth, and so the PREMA settled for sixth place. Smolyar, Schumacher and Doohan took seventh, eighth and ninth, with Matteo Nannini completing the top 10. Enzo Fittipaldi clung onto 12th place and reverse grid pole at the flag, finishing barely a car width ahead of Arthur Leclerc.
A delighted Colombo crossed the line with a 1.8s advantage over Iwasa and Caldwell, the Campos driver poignantly pointing to the Adrian Campos tribute on the top of his helmet as he rose out of the car.
KEY QUOTE – LORENZO COLOMBO (CAMPOS RACING)
“My first time on the podium and my first win as well – there is no better way to do it. This win goes to Adrian Campos Snr. After he passed away, we kept pushing and now the results are coming.
“That’s a good motivation for us to keep pushing like this and to keep improving the car. I hope that I can gain places in Race 2 and get some points.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Hauger holds a 40-point advantage at the top of the table with 120 points. His teammate Caldwell is now up to second with 80, and Doohan is third, tied on 74 points with Vesti. Victor Martins remains in fifth on 66 points.
In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA are top with 226 points, ahead of Trident on 147 and ART on 139. MP Motorsport are fourth with 107 and Hitech Grand Prix fifth with 50.
Fittipaldi will start ahead of Roman Stanek from reverse grid pole in Race 2 after the pair finished in 12th and 11th. Action will get underway later this afternoon at 5.55pm local time.