Barcelona F3: Smolyar takes maiden win after safety car finish

ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Smolyar won the first FIA Formula 3 race of the 2021 season in Spain, which ended under a safety car.

Barcelona F3: Smolyar takes maiden win after safety car finish

Having started second after the top 12 from qualifying were reversed, Smolyar took the lead from Carlin rookie Jonny Edgar on the fourth lap of 22 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the help of DRS at Turn 1 after a tight battle during the first few laps.

Smolyar had broken the DRS train by lap eight, giving him more than 1.5 seconds on Edgar which he extended to more than two seconds by the 12th lap, although a charging Clement Novalak had started to threaten before the safety car appeared on lap 19 when HWA Racelab driver Oliver Rasmussen ended up in the gravel at the final corner.

The Russian sophomore's victory, only his second podium finish in F3 after a third place at Monza last year, also came with an added two bonus points for securing the fastest lap. Smolyar was denied a maiden F3 win last year at Silverstone when he picked up a post-race five-second time penalty for excessive weaving.

Trident’s Novalak rose from sixth on the grid to finish second for his first F3 podium since the second of the four Silverstone races held in 2020, while MP Motorsport rookie Caio Collet took third on his debut.

Charouz Racing System’s Logan Sargeant, the highest placed returning driver from last year, finished fourth after completing a late deal to sign for the Czech team earlier this week, while poleman Edgar slipped back to fifth.

Ido Cohen’s Carlin car ground to a halt on the track during the formation lap, forcing the start to be aborted and inducing another formation lap for the other 29 drivers while he was towed back to the pitlane.

Despite Edgar having a great getaway and remaining in first for the initial few laps, he dropped down to fourth by the 16th lap as his tyres wore away, before being overtaken Sargeant the following lap.

Olli Caldwell was the best-placed entry from reigning teams champion Prema in sixth ahead of ART's Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti, with race three poleman Dennis Hauger - who started 12th after topping Friday's qualifying session - completing the top eight.

Podium: Race winner Alexander Smolyar, ART Grand Prix, second place Clement Novalak, Trident, third place Caio Collet, MP Motorsport

Podium: Race winner Alexander Smolyar, ART Grand Prix, second place Clement Novalak, Trident, third place Caio Collet, MP Motorsport

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Their Prema team-mate Arthur Leclerc was forced to pit on lap 14 after a rear left puncture, dropping him down the running order to an eventual 28th place finish after Rasmussen's off.

Trident’s Jack Doohan, who qualified second yesterday, dropped down the order from 11th to 19th during the hectic first lap and eventually finished 17th.

The top 12 of this morning’s race is reversed to form the grid for this afternoon’s race, with Charouz’s Enzo Fittipaldi starting on pole.

Trident’s David Schumacher will start second, with HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini and MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins on the second row.

Results

Cla Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar France ART Grand Prix 21  
2 United Kingdom Clement Novalak Italy Trident 21 1.500
3 Caio Collet Netherlands MP Motorsport 21 1.900
4 United States Logan Sargeant Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 21 2.100
5 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar United Kingdom Carlin 21 2.400
6 United Kingdom Olli Caldwell Italy Prema Powerteam 21 2.800
7 Denmark Frederik Vesti France ART Grand Prix 21 3.400
8 Norway Dennis Hauger Italy Prema Powerteam 21 3.800
9 France Victor Martins Netherlands MP Motorsport 21 4.100
10 Italy Matteo Nannini Germany HWA AG 21 4.500
11 Germany David Schumacher Italy Trident 21 4.900
12 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 21 5.300
13 Jak Crawford United Kingdom HitechGP 21 5.700
14 Ayumu Iwasa United Kingdom HitechGP 21 6.200
15 United States Juan Manuel Correa France ART Grand Prix 21 7.200
16 Czech Republic Roman Staněk United Kingdom HitechGP 21 7.700
17 Australia Jack Doohan Italy Trident 21 10.000
18 Australia Calan Williams Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 21 10.300
19 Rafael Villagómez Germany HWA AG 21 11.200
20 Reshad de Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 21 11.800
21 Tijmen van Netherlands MP Motorsport 21 13.400
22 United States Kaylen Frederick United Kingdom Carlin 21 13.900
23 Italy Lorenzo Colombo Spain Campos Racing 21 14.100
24 Pierre-Louis Chovet Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 21 18.000
25 Filip Ugran Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 21 18.300
26 Amaury Cordeel Spain Campos Racing 21 20.500
27 László Tóth Spain Campos Racing 21 21.000
28 Arthur Leclerc Italy Prema Powerteam 21 21.400
29 Ido Cohen United Kingdom Carlin 21 38.000
30 Oliver Rasmussen Germany HWA AG 17  
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