Pau Euro F3: Lotus F1 junior Esteban Ocon wins eventful opener

Esteban Ocon delighted a partisan French crowd by winning Saturday's Formula 3 European Championship race at Pau

Pau Euro F3: Lotus F1 junior Esteban Ocon wins eventful opener

The Lotus Formula 1 Junior had to defend at the start from Lucas Auer and Max Verstappen, before the race swiftly went under caution.

Alexander Toril had launched over the back of Mitch Gilbert into Pont Oscar and took off for a scary aerial crash, which took just two laps for the marshals to clear up. Ocon gradually inched away from Auer and Verstappen after the restart, but got his break when Auer began to defend from the Dutchman.

On the seventh lap, Auer locked up into the Lycee hairpin, Verstappen squeezed down the inside, and the Austrian had to put two wheels on the pavement into the following left-hand sweeper to retain his second place.

A second safety car, caused by Michele Beretta parking his stricken car on the inside pavement at Parc Beaumont, meant Ocon had to do it all again. But the Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes driver quickly pulled a comfortable margin on Auer's similar Mucke Motorsport car, which in turn was unchallenged by Verstappen's Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.

With Nicholas Latifi pulling into the pitlane at the end of the green-flag lap and unable to take up his second-row position, Jake Dennis grabbed the opportunity for his best F3 result to date. He had to work hard, fending off Carlin team-mate Jordan King, who tried a big lunge around the outside into the Virage de la Gare after the second restart.

This duo was shadowed by West-Tec's Felix Serralles, who in turn had the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin car of Antonio Giovinazzi right behind.

Ed Jones shook off his qualifying mega-shunt to take eighth in his Carlin machine, while the second Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver, Sean Gelael, had to concede ninth to Spike Goddard when the Australian made a brave move into Gare mid-race in his T-Sport Dallara-NBE.

Unusually for Pau, there was plenty of successful overtaking lower down the order, with Felix Rosenqvist carving through from 22nd to 14th with a series of late-race moves - he took two in one go when Antonio Fuoco and Felipe Guimaraes got all squirrelly at Lycee in their battle.

Results - 27 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Merc 35m36.291s 2. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Merc +2.922s 3. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW +5.951s 4. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW +11.368s 5. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW +12.673s 6. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Merc +14.710s 7. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW +15.797s 8. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW +21.196s 9. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE +24.022s 10. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW +24.864s 11. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW +26.059s 12. John Bryan-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc +26.510s 13. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Merc +26.715s 14. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc +28.113s 15. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW +29.548s 16. Felipe Guimaraes Double R Dallara-Merc +29.672s 17. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Merc +30.443s 18. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc +34.853s 19. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW +35.525s 20. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc +42.210s 21. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara-Merc +45.011s Retirements: Riccardo Agostini Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 26 laps Michele Beretta Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 12 laps Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Merc 0 laps Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Merc 0 laps Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 0 laps 
shares
comments
Barcelona GP3: Red Bull junior Alex Lynn on pole for season opener
Previous article

Barcelona GP3: Red Bull junior Alex Lynn on pole for season opener

Next article

Barcelona GP3: Alex Lynn claims victory on series debut

Barcelona GP3: Alex Lynn claims victory on series debut
What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series Plus

What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series

The announcement that FIA Formula 2 and 3 would race alongside the Australian Grand Prix from 2023 came as a surprise, not only to fans but to the series’ teams too. But with Formula 1’s boom in popularity bringing more fans to the championships, team principals are relishing the opportunity

FIA F2
Jun 28, 2022
Why the Formula 3 benchmark's 2022 season hinges on qualifying Plus

Why the Formula 3 benchmark's 2022 season hinges on qualifying

Prema Racing has long dominated FIA Formula 3, taking the teams’ title in two of the past three seasons. But its start to 2022 has been trickier than usual, and the answers lie in its qualifying performance

FIA F3
May 27, 2022
How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape Plus

How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape

With just five points separating the top five after two rounds, FIA Formula 3 looks set for another thrilling season in 2022. But who stands the best chance of pulling away from that pack, and who are the contenders bubbling under?

FIA F3
May 3, 2022
The F3 newcomer making good on his unusual career path Plus

The F3 newcomer making good on his unusual career path

Joining the FIA Formula 3 grid as a rookie with a team new to the series could prove daunting for most, but then there aren't many drivers who have the extensive experience Franco Colapinto brings from his time racing sportscars. The Argentinian explains how his LMP2 experience is already helping him in 2022

FIA F3
Mar 27, 2022
The British trio hunting for F3 title glory Plus

The British trio hunting for F3 title glory

The 2022 FIA Formula 3 season kicks off this weekend in Bahrain. British trio Zak O’Sullivan, Ollie Bearman and Jonny Edgar have all become proteges of Formula 1 teams, and are talents to watch this year

FIA F3
Mar 18, 2022
How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors Plus

How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors

His career has been a slowburner but Gregoire Saucy trounced a collection of F1 juniors in Formula Regional by Alpine last year, and now he’s preparing to do it again in FIA F3. Here’s how the Swiss caught the world by surprise in 2021 and how he plans to do it all over again

Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021

With a veritable feast of feeder series talent in 2021, FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 produced some of its most exciting racing yet. Although Prema Racing drivers once again dominated the respective series, drivers from other teams also stole the limelight to mark themselves out as stars of the future, or validate their highly-regarded standing

FIA F2
Dec 22, 2021
How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021 Plus

How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021

Taking three of the four titles and producing two outstanding champions in the process, Prema Racing remained the team to beat in Formula 1's feeder series in 2021. Team boss Rene Rosin reveals the traits that helped Dennis Hauger and Oscar Piastri to come out on top in Formula 3 and Formula 2

FIA F2
Dec 20, 2021