Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Race report
FIA F3 Monaco

F3 Monaco: Alpine junior Tsolov controls sprint after red flag

Nikola Tsolov became the first Bulgarian driver to win in Formula 3 with a dominant victory in a Monaco sprint race that was red-flagged after a multi-car opening lap accident.

Tim Tramnitz, MP Motorsport, Nikola Tsolov, ART Grand Prix,  Laurens van Hoepen, ART Grand Prix

ART driver Tsolov was rarely threatened in his lights-to-flag win, surviving two restarts and an investigation for illegal weaving.

Team-mate Laurens van Hoepen dropped to third behind Tim Tramnitz (MP Motorsport) at the start and was unable to recover the position, despite his German rival's lack of pace.

Remarkably, Tsolov’s success means that there is yet to be a repeat winner in F3 this season, with seven different drivers having taken to the top step of the podium.

After a typical Monaco start which saw seven drivers - Sophia Floersch, Tommy Smith, Kacper Sztuka, Charlie Wurz, Martinius Stenshoorne, Cian Shields and Piotr Wisnicki – noted for track limits violations at Sainte Devote, the only real action of the day came on the first run through Casino Square.

Instigating things were Christian Mansell and Arvid Lindblad, with the Red Bull junior appearing not to see the Australian to his left as he swung wide to take the normal racing line into the right-hander of the complex.

The ensuing contact resulted in Lindblad facing backwards with Joshua Dufek, Alex Dunne and Shields getting caught up in the melee. All five drivers retired on the spot, with the initial contact between Lindblad and Mansell subject to a post-race investigation.

In the squeeze to get past, Sami Meguetounif had a lucky escape after contact with Wisnicki briefly tipped him onto two wheels.

Initially covered by the safety car, the red flags were quickly displayed with some of the cars stuck fast together. Such was the difficulty in separating Dunne and Mansell’s cars that they were pushed away while still interlinked nose to gearbox.

A fantastic start for Luke Browning went somewhat under the radar as he made a pair of audacious moves around the outside of Lindblad at Sainte Devote and championship leader Leonardo Fornaroli at Massenet.

Following a half-hour delay, Tsolov led the field away on the rolling restart and gained a quick advantage over Tramnitz, who was caught napping by the early jump.

With the race settling into a typical Monaco follow-the-leader affair, the lap count steadily ticked over until lap 13, when contact between Floersch, who was now carrying a 10-second penalty, and Sztuka resulted in race-ending damage for both, with the latter stopping on the track and causing a further safety car period.

Having again successfully negotiated the restart, Tsolov endured a heart-in-mouth moment when he was investigated for failing to follow the race director’s instructions with regard to weaving on a restart.

The penalty for weaving beyond the prescribed point is five seconds, a margin was quickly instructed to pull out over Tramnitz. But with four laps remaining, he was able to ease off when the stewards cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The effect at the top of the standings is that Fornaroli remains at the summit, although with a reduced two-point lead over Browning, who finished one place ahead of his rival in eighth.

F3 Monaco Race Results

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h Pits Points Retirement Bonus
1
N. Tsolov ART Grand Prix
25 23

-

           
2
T. Tramnitz MP Motorsport
7 23

+4.300

4.3

4.300          
3
L. Van ART Grand Prix
24 23

+5.100

5.1

0.800          
4
N. León Van Amersfoort Racing
20 23

+5.300

5.3

0.200          
5
J. Loake Rodin Motorsport
31 23

+6.400

6.4

1.100          
6
M. Boya Campos Racing
12 23

+6.800

6.8

0.400          
7
D. Beganovic Prema Powerteam
1 23

+7.700

7.7

0.900          
8
L. Browning Hitech Pulse-Eight
14 23

+12.600

12.6

4.900          
9
L. Fornaroli Trident
4 23

+12.900

12.9

0.300          
10
O. Goethe Campos Racing
10 23

+14.900

14.9

2.000          
11
G. Minì Prema Powerteam
2 23

+15.300

15.3

0.400          
12
C. Voisin Rodin Motorsport
29 23

+19.400

19.4

4.100          
13
T. Smith Van Amersfoort Racing
22 23

+20.100

20.1

0.700          
14
M. Esterson Jenzer Motorsport
18 23

+24.300

24.3

4.200          
15
S. Ramos Trident
6 23

+24.700

24.7

0.400          
16
M. Stenshorne Hitech Pulse-Eight
15 23

+25.000

25.0

0.300          
17
T. Inthraphuvasak PHM AIX Racing
26 23

+27.400

27.4

2.400          
18 Colombia S. Montoya Campos Racing 11 23

+28.300

28.3

0.900          
19
C. Wurz Jenzer Motorsport
17 23

+29.000

29.0

0.700          
20
J. Hedley Jenzer Motorsport
19 23

+38.300

38.3

9.300          
21
P. Wiśnicki Rodin Motorsport
30 23

+46.300

46.3

8.000          
dnf
S. Meguetounif Trident
5 20

3 laps

        Retirement  
dnf
N. Bedrin PHM AIX Racing
27 15

8 laps

        Retirement  
dnf Germany S. Flörsch Van Amersfoort Racing 21 13

10 laps

        Retirement  
dnf
K. Sztuka MP Motorsport
8 12

11 laps

        Retirement  
dnf
A. Lindblad Prema Powerteam
3 22

 

        Accident  
dnf
C. Mansell ART Grand Prix
23 22

 

        Accident  
dnf
J. Dufek PHM AIX Racing
28 22

 

        Accident  
dnf
A. Dunne MP Motorsport
9 22

 

        Accident  
dnf
C. Shields Hitech Pulse-Eight
16 22

 

        Accident  

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F3 drivers unimpressed by controversial Macau GP Formula Regional switch
Next article F3 Monaco: Mini claims championship lead with feature win over Mansell

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe