Antonio Fuoco celebrates second season win
The 23rd season round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship provided plenty of action for the spectators at the Red Bull Ring and Antonio Fuoco won in front of Tom Blomqvist and Lucas Auer.
Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) was able to decide the race in his favour, although he never led the field for one moment. For his second victory in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, the rookie driver benefited from a 20 seconds’ time penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), who led throughout the race, due to an infringement of the safety car procedure. Eventually, Fuoco won from Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and national hero Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). For points’ leader Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), things didn’t go according to plan either; the French Lotus Formula 1 junior driver collided with Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and retired.
At the start, Antonio Giovinazzi took the lead from Tom Blomqvist. On the way to the first corner, the Brit had to slot in behind Antonio Fuoco and dropped back to third. On lap three, Jordan King (Carlin) and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) collided, which ended with a spin by British driver King. As a result, the safety car was deployed for the first time in this race. Shortly after the restart, Dennis van de Laar (Prema Powerteam) spun, which caused the second safety car intervention in this 23rd season round. After the next restart, Esteban Ocon and Felix Rosenqvist tangled in the battle for fourth place. Both drivers retired. On lap 16, Richard Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport) spun after a collision with Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and hit Sandro Zeller’s (Jo Zeller Racing) car in the aftermath. For Goddard and Zeller, the race was over.
Out in front, Antonio Giovinazzi still held on to the lead, but at the final restart of the race, he left a gap to the safety car that was too big and was given a drive-through penalty as a result. As he didn’t come in for this penalty during the remainder of the race, it was converted into a 20 seconds’ time penalty. Thus, the Italian lost his first place to compatriot Antonio Fuoco, who became the winner of the race. Tom Blomqvist was delighted with his second-place finish, Lucas Auer took the chequered flag in third place. Max Verstappen, Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing), Edward Jones (Carlin), Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam), Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport) rounded out the top ten. For Spaniard Toril, tenth place is his best result in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to date.
Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam): “I anm really happy and proud of this victory. After a good start, I was able to overtake Lucas Auer in the first corner and I was even second after the second corner. However, I had no chance against Antonio Giovinazzi, who was still in front of me; he was simply too fast. My engineer told me over the radio about the penalty for Giovinazzi, so I was aware that I had won as I crossed the line.”
Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “I feel really sorry for my team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, because he was quick and would have deserved this success. My start wasn’t perfect and when I was between Lucas Auer and Antonio Fuoco in the second corner, Antonio was able to overtake me. I was left without a chance.”
Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport): “My start was okay, but I lost a few places in the first few corners. Then I was lucky that there were some incidents in this race and I benefited from some of them. Thus, I came home third. My car was already much better than yesterday, but we still have work to do. Nevertheless, I am happy with my podium finish in my home race.”