Roberto Merhi wins first British F3 race at Spa for Prema Powerteam

Roberto Merhi converted pole position into a convincing victory in the first British Formula 3 race of the weekend at Spa

Roberto Merhi wins first British F3 race at Spa for Prema Powerteam

The Spaniard scampered away after a ballistic start, while a battle between Fortec team-mates Will Buller and Lucas Foresti got tight at the apex of La Source and contact from Foresti tipped Signature's Marco Wittmann onto two wheels and then into a spin.

The delays to those behind, coupled with a relentless opening lap, helped Merhi build a significant gap. The Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes driver eventually won by 12.8 seconds, having pulled away from the field consistently at almost a second per lap for the entire race.

Top British championship runner Buller emerged from the first corner melee in second, with Carlin's Jazeman Jaafar for company. Having started ninth, the Malaysian avoided the first corner contretemps and rose to third. He hounded Buller for the rest of the race and finished only 0.6s adrift after 13 laps.

Signature's Carlos Munoz took fourth after jumping Foresti on the second lap. The Colombian finished just under a second behind the top three, having been chased hard throughout the race by Carlin rookie Jack Harvey.

Foresti continued to fall steadily down the order as the race progressed. He eventually finished 13th behind German F3 regular Hannes van Asseldonk and the recovering Wittmann.

Carlin's Rupert Svendsen-Cook completed the top six after winning a close battle with Foresti and his team-mates Felipe Nasr and Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen's eventual seventh place completed a fine charge from 17th on the grid and also gave him pole for race two on the partially-reversed grid.

Nasr fared less well in trying to overcome Foresti and eventually finished ninth behind Prema's Daniel Juncadella, who climbed into the top 10 from 14th on the grid.

Nasr's Colombian Carlin team-mate Carlos Huertas put in a highly impressive performance to climb from 25th on the grid and round out the top 10.

Results - 13 laps: Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap 1. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 29m18.572s 2. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 12.846s 3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.486s 4. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW + 14.410s 5. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 15.005s 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.378s 7. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.912s 8. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 22.360s 9. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW + 25.511s 10. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 30.999s 11. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW + 32.627s 12. Hannes van Asseldonk Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW + 32.982s 13. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 34.351s 14. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 35.452s 15. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 36.017s 16. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc + 37.502s 17. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW + 38.518s 18. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 43.275s 19. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW + 45.137s 20. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc + 53.692s 21. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 56.479s 22. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 56.646s 23. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 59.179s 24. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen + 1m16.779s Retirements: Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW 8 laps Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc 3 laps Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 2 laps Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW 0 laps 
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