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Imola European F3: Tom Blomqvist wins as Max Verstappen stuns

Tom Blomqvist dominated the second Formula 3 European Championship race at Imola to keep his title hopes alive, as Max Verstappen put in a sensational charge from 11th to second

Blomqvist beat championship leader Esteban Ocon, who was second on the grid, away from the line and built up a huge advantage over fellow Jagonya Ayam with Carlin runner Antonio Giovinazzi, who passed Ocon into the first corner to take second.

The safety car, caused by a crash for Alexander Toril at Piratella, eradicated Blomqvist's advantage, but he made a good restart and was never threatened thereafter.

Verstappen was up to sixth by the time the safety car appeared after seven laps.

Straight after the restart, he passed Nicholas Latifi for fifth into Tamburello.
He then hunted down Ocon - who had fallen behind Prema Powerteam stablemate Antonio Fuoco - and swept around the outside of the Lotus F1 junior at Tamburello to claim fourth.

Just after this, Fuoco came into the pits for a rear-wheel change, and the Italian made two further pitstops before the finish - now Verstappen was third with seven laps remaining.

By the final two laps the Van Amersfoort Racing car was right on the tail of Giovinazzi.

"I made a little mistake on the penultimate lap, but I was really pushing," said Verstappen.

"Antonio did a good defence at the end of the straight [into Tamburello] on the final lap, and it was difficult to stay close behind him in the middle sector. But at the last corner he ran a little bit wide, touched the green bit on the outside and got some wheelspin.

"I think there was a bit of confusion with where the finish line was but I just kept it flat."

Verstappen snatched second by 0.019 seconds (pictured), although Giovinazzi denied that he had mistakenly backed off before the flag, instead pointing out the straightline speed advantage the VAR car has had all week.

Ocon finished fourth, and is 84 points in front of Blomqvist going into Sunday's third race, and 96 ahead of Verstappen.

Verstappen starts this one from pole, with Ocon second and Blomqvist fourth.

If Verstappen wins, Ocon only has to finish in the top seven to be crowned champion; if Blomqvist wins, Ocon needs to be second.

Lucas Auer pulled off a spectacular outside move at Tamburello on Latifi with four laps remaining to take fifth, while Jake Dennis, Felix Serralles, Felix Rosenqvist and Gustavo Menezes completed the points scorers.

Will Buller was running comfortably in the top 10 before his Signature Dallara retired to the pits with a clutch problem.

RESULTS - 20 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Tom Blomqvist Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 35m13.491s
2 Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen 4.263s
3 Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 4.282s
4 Esteban Ocon Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 7.743s
5 Lucas Auer KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 10.029s
6 Nicholas Latifi Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 12.497s
7 Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 13.624s
8 Felix Serralles Team West-Tec F3 Dallara/Mercedes 17.388s
9 Felix Rosenqvist KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 19.089s
10 Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen 19.746s
11 Dennis van de Laar Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 22.246s
12 Nick Cassidy ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 23.867s
13 Ed Jones Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 26.250s
14 Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Racing Dallara/Mercedes 26.979s
15 Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen 32.283s
16 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 32.689s
17 Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara/Mercedes 34.096s
18 Richard Goddard ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 35.384s
19 Jordan King Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 35.533s
20 Sergio Sette Camara EuroInternational Dallara/Mercedes 37.902s
21 Roy Nissany KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 37.932s
22 Andy Chang Team West-Tec F3 Dallara/Mercedes 37.949s
23 Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Racing Dallara/Mercedes 42.918s
24 Martin Cao Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 43.106s
25 Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
- William Buller Signature Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Santino Ferrucci Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Alexander Toril ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE Retirement


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