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F3 Bahrain: Bortoleto takes feature win after leader Mini handed penalty

Gabriel Bortoleto inherited his maiden Formula 3 feature race win from Gabriele Mini after a penalty and a safety car scuppered the polesitter’s chances.

Gabriel Bortoleto, Trident, leads Gabriele Mini, Hitech GP, Gregoire Saucy, ART Grand Prix

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hitech driver Mini had been running in third by the end of the first lap, having been passed by Bortoleto (Trident) and Gregoire Saucy (ART) off the line.

He retook second place from Saucy on lap four before passing Bortoleto for the lead on lap 10, but was handed a five-second penalty for a start procedure infringement.

Mini had looked set to retain at least fourth place before a penultimate lap safety car scuppered his chances, eliminating his lead and handing Bortoleto the win.

The Brazilian led a Trident 1-2 from fellow rookie Oliver Goethe, while an audibly frustrated Mini was relegated to eighth by the penalty, shouting over the radio and hitting his steering wheel after an unlucky race.

Bortoleto had lined up second, taking the lead down to Turn 1 as Saucy slotted into second ahead of Mini at Turn 4.

He built a 2.1s lead to Saucy while the ART returnee battled with Mini behind, the Alpine Academy driver finally passing Saucy around the outside of Turn 4 on the fourth lap.

Bortoleto had doubled his lead by lap six before the safety car was deployed, with Tommy Smith having spun his Van Amersfoort Racing car at Turn 8 while Mari Boya (MP Motorsport) had also suffered front wing damage having clumsily driven into the Australian.

Racing resumed on lap 10, with Mini taking the lead at Turns 6 and 7 from Bortoleto as he set about building enough of a gap to retain the lead, as it was during the break in action in which the Italian was handed his penalty.

The safety car was deployed for the second time on the penultimate lap after Smith and Roberto Faria made contact, ending Smith’s race and scuppering Mini’s chances of victory.

Runner-up Goethe passed Saucy for third with seven laps remaining, taking the final podium spot down to Turn 1, before being promoted into second place to cap off a strong result for Trident.

Reigning Formula Regional European champion Dino Beganovic took third for Prema, claiming his first podium in the series, after passing Saucy late on in the event.

On the penultimate lap, a flagging Saucy had been caught by Beganovic and Luke Browning, with the former making his way through into fourth as Saucy retained fifth.

Saucy hence finished fourth after Mini's penalty, with Browning in fifth for Hitech after a superb race, having charged through the field from 17th place.

Sprint race winner Pepe Marti finished sixth for Campos, with ART's Kaylen Frederick in seventh. Sebastian Montoya finished ninth for Hitech, with Paul Aron rounding off the top 10 after a race-long skirmish with Prema team-mate Zak O’Sullivan.

F3 returns in Melbourne, Australia, from 31 March to 2 April.

F3 Bahrain feature race results - 22 laps

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Gabriel Bortoleto Italy Trident -  
2 Oliver Goethe Italy Trident 0.8 0.800
3 Dino Beganovic Italy Prema Powerteam 1.1 1.100
4 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy France ART Grand Prix 1.3 1.300
5 Luke Browning Hitech Pulse-Eight 1.6 1.600
6 Pepe Martí Spain Campos Racing 1.8 1.800
7 United States Kaylen Frederick France ART Grand Prix 2.1 2.100
8 Gabriele Minì Hitech Pulse-Eight 4.6 4.600
9 Colombia Sebastian Montoya Hitech Pulse-Eight 6.8 6.800
10 Paul Aron Italy Prema Powerteam 8.1 8.100
11 Argentina Franco Colapinto Netherlands MP Motorsport 9.8 9.800
12 United Kingdom Zak O'Sullivan Italy Prema Powerteam 15.8 15.800
13 Christian Mansell Spain Campos Racing 18.2 18.200
14 Brazil Caio Collet Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 19.2 19.200
15 Nikola Tsolov France ART Grand Prix 19.2 19.200
16 Taylor Barnard Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 19.6 19.600
17 Nikita Bedrin Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 22.0 22.000
18 Oliver Gray Rodin Carlin 25.0 25.000
19 Israel Ido Cohen Rodin Carlin 25.2 25.200
20 Mexico Rafael Villagomez Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 25.6 25.600
21 Germany Sophia Flörsch PHM Racing by Charouz 28.4 28.400
22 Hunter Yeany Rodin Carlin 35.4 35.400
23 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar Netherlands MP Motorsport 36.1 36.100
24 Piotr Wiśnicki PHM Racing by Charouz 37.3 37.300
25 Roberto Faria PHM Racing by Charouz 45.3 45.300
26 Hugh Barter Spain Campos Racing 1'07.5 1'07.500
27 Leonardo Fornaroli Italy Trident 1 lap  
  Tommy Smith Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 2 laps  
  Alex Garcia Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 3 laps  
  Mari Boya Netherlands MP Motorsport 16 laps  

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