Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden win as Sargeant loses points lead

Lirim Zendeli took his maiden FIA Formula 3 race victory with a commanding lights-to-flag win in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps, while engine issues cost Logan Sargeant his championship lead

Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden win as Sargeant loses points lead

Trident's Zendeli, who was denied a first F3 win on the final lap of the second sprint race at Silverstone earlier in the season, led every lap from pole position to secure his maiden victory in the series.

The opening lap proved to be unusually uneventful for the front runners, with the top eight drivers on the grid remaining in their positions by the time the field had passed through Les Combes for the first time.

Just as second-place starter Theo Pourchaire posted the fastest lap of the race to reduce Zendeli's race lead, the virtual safety car was required on the third lap to recover Alessio Deledda's beached Campos Racing machine.

Zendeli resisted the pressure from Sauber junior Pourchaire as the race restarted and the 20-year-old was able to build a small advantage at the front of the field.

Zendeli, 2018 German Formula 4 champion, maintained that lead all the way to the chequered flag to hand Trident its third successive race one win at Spa in the championship in as many years.

Pourchaire earned his fourth podium of the year in second place with David Beckmann, who passed Prema's Sargeant and ART Grand Prix's Alexander Smolyar early in the race, completing a double-podium finish for Trident.

A fourth-place finish marked SMP Racing-backed driver Smolyar's best result of his FIA F3 rookie season.

Sargeant was running in fifth place when he encountered suspected engine issues that dropped him into the clutches of his team-mates, including his main title rival, Renault junior Oscar Piastri.

Piastri passed the ailing Sargeant on the run to Eau Rouge for fifth place with just three laps to go, and then the third Prema of Frederik Vesti demoted Sargeant to seventh place on the next lap.

British racer Olli Caldwell eased past Sargeant on the run to Les Combes on the final lap of the race, leaving Sargeant in eighth place at the chequered flag.

Piastri banged wheels with Red Bull junior Liam Lawson and ran off the track at Les Combes whilst attempting to overtake earlier in the race, before Piastri decided to hand the position back to Lawson.

Piastri re-passed Lawson a couple of laps later and finished in fifth place following Sargeant's engine woes, which was enough for Piastri to vault ahead of his team-mate into the lead of the drivers' championship with just five races to go.

Lawson struggled for pace and fell down the order to finish in ninth place ahead of ex-Red Bull junior Richard Verschoor, who will start Sunday's race two from reverse-grid pole position.

Spa-Francorchamps F3 - race one results - 17 laps

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Lirim Zendeli Trident 38m04.971s
2 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 4.047s
3 David Beckmann Trident 5.704s
4 Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix 15.043s
5 Oscar Piastri Prema Racing 15.633s
6 Frederik Vesti Prema Racing 19.085s
7 Olli Caldwell Trident 22.818s
8 Logan Sargeant Prema Racing 22.967s
9 Liam Lawson Hitech GP 24.571s
10 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 24.894s
11 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 25.585s
12 Jack Doohan HWA 26.878s
13 Matteo Nannini Jenzer Motorsport 27.881s
14 Alex Peroni Campos Racing 30.168s
15 Dennis Hauger Hitech GP 30.625s
16 Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport 30.853s
17 David Schumacher Carlin 33.975s
18 Federico Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 35.054s
19 Igor Fraga Charouz 35.725s
20 Michael Belov Charouz 36.455s
21 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 37.018s
22 Pierre-Louis Chovet Hitech GP 39.200s
23 Bent Viscaal MP Motorsport 39.501s
24 Roman Stanek Charouz 1m30.840s
25 Cameron Das Carlin 1m41.379s
26 Enzo Fittipaldi HWA 1m50.868s
27 Andreas Estner Campos Racing 1 Lap
- Clement Novalak Carlin Retirement
- Jake Hughes HWA Retirement
- Alessio Deledda Campos Racing Retirement


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