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F3 Bahrain: Hadjar inherits win after Bearman track limits penalty

Isack Hadjar was handed victory in a dramatic first round of the FIA Formula 3 championship in Bahrain after on-the-road-winner Ollie Bearman was given a five-second penalty for track limits.

Isack Hadjar, Hitech Grand Prix, 1st position, on the podium

Isack Hadjar, Hitech Grand Prix, 1st position, on the podium

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Ferrari Driver Academy member Bearman, the reigning Italian and German F4 champion, crossed the line 3.5s ahead of Hitech Grand Prix driver Hadjar after the 20-lap sprint race but was subsequently hit with a penalty that dropped him to second.

Bearman started in second place, but the Prema driver passed polesitter Zak O’Sullivan's Carlin machine on lap five before building up a lead that at one stage stood at four seconds.

But once the penalty was applied, Formula Regional European graduate Hadjar was awarded the victory and 10 points for the Red Bull junior's first race in the series.

Alexander Smolyar took the final podium spot for MP Motorsport, with the Russian driving as an Authorised Neutral Driver.

After pushing Bearman right over to the pitlane exit at the start, 2021 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner O’Sullivan pulled out an initial lead of 0.7s over Bearman, but tyre struggles saw him drop out of the podium places and finish in sixth.

Bearman and O’Sullivan had built up a healthy lead from the trailing pack by the halfway point, with Zane Maloney (Trident) two seconds behind them in third while Hadjar emerged ahead of Smolyar after a tussle for fourth at Turn 1.

Bearman snuck past Williams junior O’Sullivan into Turn 1 on lap five, taking the lead from his fellow Briton and steadily building his advantage out front.

O’Sullivan was pushed down to fourth as first Maloney, then Hadjar passed him, with Smolyar also in the mix in the podium fight and a fast-closing Arthur Leclerc fifth - the Prema driver having started 13th.

Bearman took the flag first but was denied by a penalty

Bearman took the flag first but was denied by a penalty

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hadjar then passed Maloney into Turn 1 on lap 16, allowing him to chip away at Bearman's advantage in clear air as Maloney then came under pressure from Leclerc - who had snatched fifth from O'Sullivan with a late-braking move at Turn 14.

Leclerc dived up the inside of Maloney on the final lap into the penultimate corner but ran wide and had to cede position, before rallying again on the run to the line. Although he got a better exit, Maloney just held on.

Franco Colapinto, who starts on pole for Sunday’s feature race and started in P11 for the reverse-grid race, was forced to pit for a front wing change on lap four, leaving him to finish outside the points.

Kush Maini qualified third for tomorrow’s race but was forced to start from the pitlane for both races after missing the weighbridge. He finished in 15th position.

Roman Stanek suffered a puncture amid the first lap’s chaos, forcing the Trident driver to pit and drop to the back of the field. Jak Crawford was also forced to make an unscheduled pitstop for a new front wing, plummeting to 20th.

F3 Bahrain Race 1 Result - 20 laps

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Isack Hadjar United Kingdom HitechGP -  
2 Oliver Bearman Italy Prema Powerteam 1.500 1.500
3 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar Netherlands MP Motorsport 3.500 3.500
4 Zane Maloney Italy Trident 5.600 5.600
5 Arthur Leclerc Italy Prema Powerteam 5.600 5.600
6 Zak O'Sullivan Carlin 8.800 8.800
7 Caio Collet Netherlands MP Motorsport 9.100 9.100
8 United States Kaylen Frederick United Kingdom HitechGP 11.400 11.400
9 United States Juan Manuel Correa France ART Grand Prix 12.100 12.100
10 Spain David Vidales Spain Campos Racing 19.100 19.100
11 Finland William Alatalo Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 21.200 21.200
12 Reece Ushijima Van Amersfoort Racing 21.800 21.800
13 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar Italy Trident 28.300 28.300
14 Ido Cohen Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 29.900 29.900
15 India Kush Maini Netherlands MP Motorsport 30.700 30.700
16 Malaysia Nazim Azman United Kingdom HitechGP 34.800 34.800
17 Rafael Villagómez Van Amersfoort Racing 34.900 34.900
18 Ayrton Simmons Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 44.800 44.800
19 Italy Francesco Pizzi Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 45.600 45.600
20 Italy Enzo Trulli Carlin 46.500 46.500
21 Brad Benavides Carlin 53.400 53.400
22 László Tóth Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 53.700 53.700
23 Hunter Yeany Spain Campos Racing 54.200 54.200
24 Czech Republic Roman Staněk Italy Trident 1'07.100 1'07.100
25 Argentina Franco Colapinto Van Amersfoort Racing 1'16.600 1'16.600
26 Finland Niko Kari Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'39.300 1'39.300
27 Jak Crawford Italy Prema Powerteam 1'40.400 1'40.400
  Pepe Martí Spain Campos Racing 1 lap  
  Switzerland Gregoire Saucy France ART Grand Prix 13 laps  
  France Victor Martins France ART Grand Prix 15 laps  

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