Holding his nerve until the final few minutes of the race, Isack Hadjar took the victory out of Victor Martins hands, with a breath-taking lunge around the ART Grand Prix driver on the penultimate lap was enough to secure his second Formula 3 win in his rookie season.
Martins was forced to settle for second after sustaining pressure from rookie, Reece Ushijima in the final few laps, a brilliant effort from the Van Amersfoort Racing driver, who started on reverse grid pole, paid off to seal his maiden F3 podium in third.
12th placed qualifier, Reece Ushijima had a little bit longer to wait to get off the line in his highest ever starting position. Ushijima had to led the field for a second formation lap after an issue for a slow Brad Benavides led to an aborted start.
Determined to make up for a disappointing Fridays, Martins wasted no time driving up the inside of Ushijima to snatch the lead of the race and the VAR racer found himself under a bit of pressure from Maini going side-by-side in the opening sectors.
But the full top 10 are- P1: Hadjar, P2: Martins, P3: Ushijima, P4: Maini, P5: Frederick, P6: Stanek, P7: Maloney, P8: Leclerc, P9: Bearman and P10: Crawford.
Zak O’Sullivan covered off Arthur Leclerc to retain the lead in the opening corners. Jak Crawford fought with Zane Maloney for third but was squeezed out by the Trident driver, allowing PREMA teammater Ollie Bearman to gain a run onto the Wellington Straight. The Briton tried to hang it around the outside, but Maloney made his Trident as wide as possible, heading into Luffield, Bearman didn’t back out which resulted in contact which spun the Bajan off track and down the order.
Looking at the front of the gird, Leclerc had fought back and with a two down Hangar Straight, swept around the outside of O’Sullivan into Stowe. Just as the move happened the Safety Car was deployed and Leclerc relinquished the position to the Brit.
O’Sullivan got a good restart, but Leclerc had clung with him and with DRS enabled on Lap 6, the Monegasque made a move and led the race. Hadjar and Crawford were fighting for fifth and the pair came to blows on Lap 8. Side-by-side out of the final corner and down the main straight, the duo entered Abbey with Crawford on the outside but just ahead, Hadjar narrowly clipped the rear right tyre of the PREMA driver, sending him off track and down to P8.
A slight collision between Gregoire Saucy and Roman Stanek required both to pit at the end of lap 9 for repairs. The ART GP driver was able to re-join but the Trident driver was out of the race. Another Safety car was deployed, following a crash for Rafael Villagomez at Copse. Contact with Nazim Azmna resulted in the front wing becoming stuck underneath the VAR driver’s car, sending him straight into the barriers.
With just three laps remaining, the top five was separated by just 1.5s, Bearman had been shaping up a move on Collet for several laps and finally made a lunge into Brookland on the penultimate lap for third.
However, Leclerc was untroubled and secured his third victory in F3 and his first of the 2022 season! O’Sullivan came home to finish 2nd, his first podium in F3 and infront of his home crowd. And Ollie Bearman finished the podium places, in front of his home crowd aswell.
The full top 10 are- P1: Leclerc, P2: O’Sullivan, P3: Bearman, P4: Collet, P5: Hadjar, P6: Crawford, P7: Martins, P8: Edgar, P9: Vidales and P10: Ushijima.
We don’t have long to wait until we see F3 cars back on track, we are returning next week for Round 5 at Spielberg, Austria from the 8th to 10th July!