Felix Rosenqvist took a giant stride towards the Formula 3 European Championship title with a lights-to-flag win in the first race of the weekend at the Nurburgring.
The Swede got a good launch in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes to lead team-mate and fellow front-row man Nick Cassidy into the first corner, and controlled the race all the way.
Rosenqvist was a second to the good after two laps and gradually extended the advantage to win by 6.5s.
“I was just focusing on the start, because that’s 90 per cent of the race here,” said Rosenqvist.
“My start was really perfect – I think it was one of my best. I just had a feel for the car, tried to get a gap and then just maintained it.”
Far from thinking of mounting an attack on Rosenqvist, Cassidy instead had to keep a wary eye on Callum Ilott, the 16-year-old Brit taking his first F3 podium in his Red Bull-backed Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen.
Ilott appeared to be gaining with a few laps to go, but New Zealander Cassidy was able to keep him at arm’s length for the remainder of the race.
Ilott had staved off an attack from Charles Leclerc over the opening corners, but from then on Leclerc seriously lacked pace due to a damaged front wing on his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-VW.
A train of cars built up behind the Monegasque, as this group left a yawning chasm of half a minute to the leading trio by the finish.
But, other than a couple of wide moments at Turn 1, Leclerc rarely looked under serious threat of losing the position, with a strong defensive drive.
Mikkel Jensen (Mucke Motorsport) was the man boxed up behind Leclerc, with Motopark runner Markus Pommer in turn on his tail.
Behind them, Santino Ferrucci – thanks to a great first lap from the seventh row – was able to fend off an attack from Arjun Maini for seventh, while Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top 10.
Giovinazzi and Jake Dennis both lost out in the scramble to the first corner – Dennis clipped Ilott, damaging his front wing and forcing him into the pits, while Giovinazzi ran wide as a result of the bunching to his inside to fall initially down to 12th.
The upshot is that Rosenqvist now holds a 58.5-point lead over Giovinazzi, with 125 left on the table; Leclerc is 66.5 behind and Dennis 94 adrift.
Grid-penalised George Russell’s bid to scramble into the points was hampered by a determined defensive drive from Gustavo Menezes, which in turn led to an attack from Raoul Hyman.
Alexander Albon managed to vault ahead of all of them to scythe the gap to 11th-placed Sergio Sette Camara, with Russell in his wheeltracks at the flag.
RESULTS – 25 LAPS:
|1||Felix Rosenqvist||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||34m07.623s|
|2||Nick Cassidy||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||6.491s|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Volkswagen||36.405s|
|5||Mikkel Jensen||KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||36.525s|
|7||Santino Ferrucci||KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||37.860s|
|8||Arjun Maini||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Volkswagen||38.337s|
|9||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||38.878s|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Dallara/Volkswagen||39.326s|
|11||Sergio Sette Camara||Motopark||Dallara/Volkswagen||42.423s|
|14||Gustavo Menezes||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Dallara/Volkswagen||48.009s|
|15||Pietro Fittipaldi||Fortec Motorsports||Dallara/Mercedes||48.650s|
|16||Raoul Hyman||Team West-Tec F3||Dallara/Mercedes||50.497s|
|18||Felix Serralles||KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||52.835s|
|19||Alessio Lorandi||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Volkswagen||53.331s|
|22||Matt Rao||Fortec Motorsports||Dallara/Mercedes||1m00.815s|
|24||Ryan Tveter||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Dallara/Volkswagen||1m02.638s|
|25||Michele Beretta||KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||1m03.046s|
|26||Andy Chang||Fortec Motorsports||Dallara/Mercedes||1m03.739s|
|27||Zhi Cong Li||Fortec Motorsports||Dallara/Mercedes||1m05.029s|
|28||Matt Solomon||Double R Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||1m05.895s|
|29||Julio Moreno||ThreeBond with T-Sport||Dallara/NBE||1m06.825s|
|31||Nicolas Pohler||Double R Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||1m19.712s|
|32||Harald Schlegelmilch||ArtLine Engineering||ARTTech/NBE||1 Lap|
|–||Jake Dennis||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||Retirement|