In the last six races the French national anthem had not rung out at the circuits. Esteban Ocon rectified this by scoring a dominant victory in Russia and putting a stop to Max Verstappen’s long series of wins.
Sat 12.07.14, 1:01PM
At Spa-Francorchamps and then the Norisring, Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) had been dominated by Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) who had racked up six victories on the bounce in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In Russia on the Moscow Raceway, what mattered to the Frenchman was not nursing his lead in the championship but putting the Dutchman in his place. He began by setting pole position by a wide margin and continued by scoring his sixth win of the season.
“I really wanted to put a stop to Max Verstappen’s run of victories. I’d had enough of finishing behind him,” said the winner of the first race. “I made a good start, probably my best of the season. I wanted to open up a gap in the early laps, and I probably asked too much of my tyres as their performance fell off towards the end of the race and the others were able to catch me. Luckily, it’s not easy to overtake on this circuit. After this victory we have to get ready for the next qualifying session, which is crucial for the weekend’s two remaining heats.”
Behind the Lotus F1 Team Junior driver, Jordan King (Carlin) had a perfect race. He was able to match Ocon’s pace at the start after which he concentrated on fending off Verstappen’s comeback who had snatched third after passing Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) during the second lap. “Like Esteban, I took too much out of my tyres early on,” was how the Carlin driver analysed the situation. “Max closed the gap, but he was never really in a position to threaten me. The outcome of the race was decided at the start so far as I was concerned. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the slightest opportunity to try and overtake Esteban.”
Verstappen rounded out the podium and took some points off Blomqvist and Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), who finished fourth and fifth. Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam), Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam), Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile Mücke Motorsport), Felix Serralles (Team West-Tec F3) and Gustavo Menezes were the other points scorers.
There are two more races on the programme tomorrow Sunday at 12h50 and 17h25 local time.