Tag Archives: Monza



ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Albon records victory ahead of Oscar Tunjo
Alexander Albon made it two wins out of two for French squad ART Grand Prix in the opening round of the 2016 GP3 Series season. Thai racer Albon made a perfect start and produced a stunning overtake on the outside of reverse pole-sitter Oscar Tunjo (Jenzer Motorsport) at Turn One to claim a maiden victory. Tunjo finished second ahead of Trident and Ferrari Driver Academy’s Antonio Fuoco.
Tunjo started from reverse pole at the Circuit de Catalunya alongside Arden International’s Jake Dennis but it was Albon from the second row who made a lightning getaway and made the move stick on the Colombian around the outside of the first corner. Fuoco also gained two places at the start, whilst Nyck De Vries jumped up four places to jump into the top five.
Yesterdays’ race winner Charles Leclerc dropped a few places at the start but fought back into ninth by the end of the opening lap. The Monegasque rookie was behind the DAMS duo of Kevin Jörg and Jake Hughes as they enjoyed a race long tussle for the final points on offer.
Albon’s margin at the front over Tunjo was around 1s and remained fairly consistent in the early stages, with Fuoco and Dennis five seconds adrift of the race leader. As the laps ticked down, the ART Grand Prix rookie started to increase his advantage by a tenth or two: The Thai’s strength being his pace in sector two and three, compared to Tunjo having the edge in sector one.
In the closing stages, Dennis was looking ready to attack Fuoco for the final spot on the podium; however the Italian was able to hold the Brit at bay until the chequered flag. The DAMS duo continued to be hunted down by Leclerc, with Hughes looking particularly racy on the final lap as he was eager to pass his teammate Jörg.
Albon remained calm and confident at the front and took the chequered flag 1.2s ahead of his nearest rival Tunjo to claim his maiden win in the category in his first race weekend. Fuoco celebrated his first podium of the season in third ahead of Dennis and de Vries. Koiranen GP’s Matevos Isaakyan finished sixth: The Russian drove a great race after qualifying P11. Jörg held off Hughes until the flag with Leclerc narrowly missing out on the final point.
Leclerc leaves Round 1 with the lead in the Drivers’ Standings – he holds a four point advantage over his teammate Albon and DAMS debutant Jake Hughes. Due to their double success; ART Grand Prix leads the Teams’ Standings over newcomers to the Series DAMS with Trident in third.
The second round of the season takes place at Spielberg in Austria on July 01-02-03, with the GP3 teams testing at the Red Bull Ring next month on June 07-08.



Englishman controls sprint race for win
Alex Lynn has opened his win account for 2016 with a dominant victory in this morning’s sprint race in Barcelona: the Briton made use of a quick getaway and some early overtakes for a lead he was never to relinquish, controlling the pace for victory ahead of Pierre Gasly and Jordan King.
The win was set up at the start when poleman Rafaelle Marciello made a good start to hold from fellow front row starter King into turn one, delaying the Englishman just enough to allow Lynn to sneak through at turn two: the Williams tester only needed two more laps to dispatch the Italian for the lead before building up a buffer over his rivals.
Marciello looked unhappy in his car, dropping places to King and Gasly next time by, while the Red Bull tester was looking very pleased indeed with his set up as he sliced up from sixth on the grid to dispatch King for P2 on lap 6 and set off after his former teammate for the inevitable battle for the win.
Further back Sergey Sirotkin and Luca Ghiotto were keen to put yesterday’s travails behind them as they sliced through the field at will, but with Lynn and Gasly pulling away from their rivals it was clear that it was now a two horse race for victory. Unfortunately for the fans lining the circuit that fight was to be denied when Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael came together: the Italian went over his rival’s rear wheel and tagged an innocent Arthur Pic on the way to the barriers, bringing out a safety car which would last for all but the final turn of the race.
Lynn managed the drag race for his first win of the year ahead of Gasly, who could console himself with two podiums for the weekend, with King claiming his first of the season in third ahead of Artem Markelov, who did a great job of slicing through the field for P4, and teammate Marciello, while Oliver Rowland mugged Nicholas Latifi for 6th just before the safety car, with Nobuharu Matsushita doing the same to Sergio Canamasas for P8.



ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc victorious in opening race of the season
Monegasque Charles Leclerc made the most of an excellent start from the second row to sneak into the lead by Turn One and claim the honours for the first race of the 2016 GP3 Series season. The ART Grand Prix and Ferrari Driver Academy ace controlled the race perfectly at the Circuit de Catalunya from then on to record his maiden win in the category with a six seconds advantage over pole-sitter Jake Hughes (DAMS). ART Grand Prix’s Nirei Fukuzumi was third.
Light rain fell ahead of the forty-minute race with all teams looking up to the heavens wondering if a wet race were on the cards. Slick Pirelli tyres were used on all 24 cars as the anticipation was finally over as the season commenced. It was an all DAMS front row with Hughes and Kevin Jörg but Leclerc in third made a lightning getaway to race into the lead before they reached the first corner. The Swiss debutant lost several places at the start, whilst Fukuzumi and Antonio Fuoco made great getaways to move into third and fifth respectively.
In the opening few laps, Hughes was glued to the rear of Leclerc’s machine, eager to fight back into the lead but the Monegasque resisted his efforts. Meanwhile behind the duo at the front was a squabble between Jörg and Alexander Albon with the DAMS driver managing to hold the Thai at bay.
As the laps ticked down, Leclerc maintained a small margin at the front of around 1.7s with Fukuzumi in third a few seconds adrift of Hughes. All eyes were on the battle for P10 as there was a tasty dice between the Koiranen GP trio of Ralph Boschung, Matevos Isaakyan and Matthew Parry – they remained tight throughout the 22 lap race.
At the midway point, Leclerc’s lead over Hughes was 2.2s as the dark clouds remained menacing above. Fuoco in fourth had his mirrors full of Jörg, Albon, Jake Dennis and Oscar Tunjo in the latter stage, but the positions remained the same.
At the chequered flag, Leclerc was jubilant to record an impressive win whilst Hughes recorded the first podium for newcomers DAMS with Fukuzumi completing the rostrum. Fuoco, Jörg, Albon, Dennis, Tunjo, Nyck de Vries and Boschung completed the top ten.



Frenchman powers to victory in feature

Norman Nato has claimed his first GP2 victory in style, overtaking poleman Pierre Gasly late on in a dramatic season opener in Barcelona and holding on in a feature race which saw three safety car periods before the Frenchman was greeted by the chequered flag ahead of Nicholas Latifi and Gasly.
The grid lined up for the start of the 2016 season in glorious sunshine and were soon underway, with the Red Bull tester easing in front of his countryman into turn one as they just held off a fast starting Sergey Sirotkin, who easily dispatched Alex Lynn and Latifi into the first corner and who themselves held off Gustav Malja  and Artem Markelov (who dispatched the Swede in short order) around the circuit.
A virtual safety car for Luca Ghiotto’s escape at turn four a lap later quickly turned into a real one, but the track was cleared for a lap five restart, comfortably held by Gasly as Sergio Canamasas mugged Malja further behind, with Lynn and Jordan King starting the pit visits for the super soft shod drivers one lap later: the Williams tester was looking to mug his former DAMS teammate on strategy, but it soon became clear that Gasly had the pace to control the race. 

Sirotkin was pushing Nato all around the circuit as he looked to take more from the race, but the Frenchman was a rock in defence until lap 23 when the Russian uncharacteristically spun at turn two, stalling the car and prompting another safety car period for the distraught Renault tester and opening a window for the remainder of the field to pit for free, with Gasly, Nato, Latifi, and Sergio Canamasas emerging before Lynn rolled around. 

With potentially 14 laps remaining the race wasn’t over yet as all eyes were watching to see how long the leaders’ super softs would last. Artem Markelov wasn’t waiting to find out: the Russian made quick use of his new rubber to easily dispatch Jordan King and Lynn  for P5 when the race went live on lap 26, while Nato saw his countryman was struggling and mugged him with a courageous move in the final complex for the lead of the race. 

The displays showed that the race had moved to time rather than laps, prompting a lot of drivers to jump to action: Latifi had a practice alongside Gasly on the front straight before driving right around him into second on lap 32 as Markelov echoed the move on Canamasas behind them, and the Spaniard was mugged by Lynn in the same manner one lap later. Rafaelle Marciello was tapped into a spin by Antonio Giovinazzi a few corners later, bringing out the safety car as the chequered flag fell. 

Nato was overjoyed to grab his maiden win on his Racing Engineering debut, with Latifi on his tail for his first podium. Gasly brought home PREMA Racing’s first podium in the team’s debut but was disappointed to have lost more, but Markelov was delighted to be in P4 right behind him. Lynn was the first of the early stoppers in 5th, ahead of Canamasas, King and Giovinazzi, the rookie making it a double haul for his countrymen on the pitwall, while Malja and Oliver Rowland closed out the points paying positions in P9 and 10 respectively ahead of tomorrow’s sprint race.



Event: 03 Pau
Session: Race 1
Track: Pau / France
Pole position: Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP)
Weather: rain, 13.4 °C

At a rain-soaked track in Pau, Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) scored his second FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win. At the start, the British rookie driver took the lead and celebrated an undisputed victory after 24 laps. Behind him, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) beat Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) to take the flag in second place. In the drivers’ standings, Günther extended his victory to eleven points from Cassidy. After his second win from as many races, Barnicoat moved up to fourth place in the drivers’ standings. The HitechGP driver also moved up into the lead of the rookie standings.

Pole-sitter Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) already saw his hopes of a podium finish fade away at the start. The Canadian had a poor getaway and returned from the opening lap down in ninth place. Ben Barnicoat used the opportunity and took the lead. Maximilian Günther, Nick Cassidy, George Russell (Hitech GP) and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) followed suit. Especially in the first few laps, leader Barnicoat clearly was the fastest driver in the field and extended his margin from second-placed Günther lap after lap. On lap eight, with Barnicoat already over five seconds ahead of Günther, Zhi Cong Li spun into the Armco barriers and caused the only safety car intervention of the race.

After the restart, Cassidy directly mounted an attack on Günther and thus took over second place. However, the driver from New Zealand never was in a position to challenge Barnicoat’s victory. At the flag, the Brit had a margin of more than two seconds on the Prema Powerteam driver. Maximilian Günther concluded the seventh race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season in third place from Russell, Ilott, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Ryan Tveter (Carlin), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark), Stroll and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin). 16-year-old David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished 17th in his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race.

Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP): “I am really happy with my first place. Rain had already been forecast for a long time, which suits me very well. At the start, I was able to move up into the lead and I managed to pull clear from the rest of the field during the first few laps. Unfortunately, then, the safety car came out. When Nick was behind me after the restart, things got a little more difficult, because he was quicker than Maximilian had been before. I concentrated to avoid any mistakes and I succeeded.”

Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam): “My race was good and I am very happy with my second place in my first race at Pau. Initially, I was behind Maximilian, but I had to wait until the restart after the safety car to overtake him. The move wasn’t without any risk, especially in these conditions, but it worked out.”

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and I moved up into second place. However, I wasn’t able to follow Ben, who was in front of me, and then Nick overtook me after the safety car. Then, I tried to bring the points for third place home. The fact that I am still leading the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings makes me happy, but it doesn’t really play a major role for me. The thing that counts, however, is being on top at the end of the season.”



This weekend, the young FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers will take part in a special highlight: the Grand Prix de Pau. In the event held on the 2.76-kilometre-long street circuit located in the heart of the city of Pau with its 80,000 citizens, Formula 3 has been the main attraction for many years and this year, this tradition-rich event celebrates its 75th anniversary. Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) travels to the Southern-French circuit located at the foot of the Pyrenees as championship leader while rookie Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing) represents the French colours on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid, thus being the local hero. Meanwhile, German newcomer David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) will make his first appearance in the series.

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship rounds at Pau’s tight and twisty circuit are among the highlights of every season. Last year, Prema driver Jake Dennis won two of the three races, with the third win having been secured by Antonio Giovinazzi who raced for Team Jagonya Ayam with Carlin. The only driver of this year’s field who made it to the podium was Maximilian Günther. In the third race of the weekend – the official GP de Pau – the 18-year old German finished second. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll and Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport) came close to making it to the podium in 2015 but in the end, they both had to settle for having finished fourth, in one of the races. Now, both the 18-year-old Indian and the Canadian, who is one year younger, want to up the ante by achieving the goal they didn’t last year: a top-three result in Pau.

A driver who knows how it feels to win on the streets of Pau is Anthoine Hubert. The 19-year-old who lives in Chartres, between Paris and Le Mans, won both Formula Renault Alps 2.0 rounds held at Pau last year and definitely would love to repeat this success in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, this year. In addition to his regular rivals, he also will have to take on a new opponent: German David Beckmann is going to contest his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship weekend. The now 16-year old young gun, best rookie in the 2015 ADAC Formula 4 season, celebrated his birthday just a few days ago and now has the minimum age for racing in the category. So he combines his Formula 3 debut and his first races on a street circuit at Pau.

Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport): “Pau is a fantastic circuit. It definitely is one of my favourite racetracks. It’s such a tight circuit and nonetheless, we are racing here at speeds of 200kph and more – just incredible. Last year was my first race weekend in Pau and things ran well for me right from the start. I hope that I will be able to also secure good results this year. On the first two race weekends, at Le Castellet and in Hungary, we had problems with our car but we think we have them solved, now. Therefore, I hope that we will be more competitive, in Pau and will be able to battle it out at the front end of the field.“