Marciello stands up to the pressure of JuncadellaRaffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) drove to his sixth win in the FIA European Formula 3 championship on Saturday morning, the 29th of September.
In an eventful first race at the circuit of Valencia, the 17-year old managed to withstand the pressure of points leader Daniel Juncadella, who finished just 0.5 of a second behind the leader of the race. Tom Blomqvist (ma-con Motorsport) showed his pace and finished in third position, taking his second podium this year.
Rosenqvist takes the lead
Right at the start, the action began. Marciello had set the pole time at 1:28.534 during the Friday qualifying session, joined by Felix Rosenqvist on the first starting row. Rosenqvist clearly had a better start and grabbed the lead before the field reached the first corner. The Swedish driver from Mucke Motorsport was the fastest driver on track and pulled a gap of 1.6 seconds in just the first lap. On a different note, Carlos Sainz Junior and Tom Blomqvist met in the first corner, after which the son of World Champion Carlos Sainz had to park his damaged car along the track.
Only moments after passing the start/finish line for the first time, race control spoke and gave Rosenqvist a drive through penalty for an incorrect position on the starting grid. When looking at the replay of the start, it was definite that the car was parked beyond the starting line. A shame for Rosenqvist, who was well underway and had scored a victory during the previous event of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in Zandvoort.
The second phase of the seventeenth race this season saw fights for all positions on track. As the top four stayed within each other’s sight, there was also an ongoing battle for the other positions. Michael Lewis and Sven Muller ended their fight in tears when the cars clashed and Lewis was awarded with a drive through for making a dangerous move. Moreover, Nurburgring-winner Pascal Wehrlein was on the tail of William Buller for a struggle that lasted several laps. As the track in Eastern Spain is a difficult one to overtake, it is a challenge for any driver to get past. Finally, Wehrlein managed and took a courageous step to get by Buller for the fifth place.
Securing important points
The most interesting fight going on was of course the one for the lead. Juncadella never let go of Marciello, staying within half a second distance for the majority of the race. In the penultimate lap, it looked like Juncadella was going to make a final attempt for the highest step of the podium when he reduced the difference to 0.3 seconds. Marciello on the other hand proved he learned how to deal with pressure, kept his head cool and finished first, before teammate Juncadella and ma-con Motorsport’s Blomqvist.
Raffaele closes in
Because Raffaele now has one more win in the FIA standings, he closed the gap to Daniel a little. However, the Spanish driver has a solid advantage of 27,5 points. With 75 points still to divide this season, Marciello still has a chance of winning the title and claiming the ultimate prize: a test in the Ferrari Formula One car.
The second race at the Circuit Comunitat de Valencia follows on Sunday the 30th of September at 11.15.
Result Race 1:
1. Raffaele Marciello* in 27 laps, 39 minutes ans 31.289 seconds, 2. Daniel Juncadella* +0.471, 3. Tom Blomqvist* +4.306, 4. Emil Bernstorff* +4.306, 5. Pascal Wehrlein* +15.789, 6. William Buller* + 38.322, 7. Sven Muller* +38.810, 8. Michael Lewis* +58.679, 9. Andrea Roda* +1:00.053, 10. Luis Sa Silva* +1.00.196, 11. Lucas Wolf* 1:04.199, 12. Sandro Zeller + 1:08.948, 13. Felix Rosenqvist* 1:10.624
All drivers marked with * are registered for the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.