Tom Blomqvist takes victory from rookie driver Esteban Ocon
Season round: 8 of 33
Winner: Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin)
Pole position: Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: wet track, rain in the first part of the race
Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) claimed victory in the eighth season round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit of Pau in the south of France. On a wet track at the foot of the Pyrenees, he ended up ahead of rookie driver Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), who was slowed down by a bent suspension. After a thrilling finale, Jake Dennis (Carlin) finished third as the second-best rookie driver in the field. With his seventh podium finish of the season, Lotus F1 junior driver Ocon extended his FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ lead (146 points), followed by Tom Blomqvist with 92 points.
Due to the weather conditions and a wet track, the field got underway behind the safety car with Esteban Ocon as the pole-sitter. After five laps, the green flags were out and Ocon maintained his lead from Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing). On lap twelve, Max Verstappen, who had lost ground on Ocon and Rosenqvist, spun out of third place and into the Armco barriers, putting an end to his race. Soon after that, Felix Rosenqvist closed the gap to Ocon. As he attacked the Frenchman for the lead, the two cars slightly tangled, the Swede spun and retired as well. After Tatiana Calderón (Jo Zeller Racing) and Felipe Guimarães (Double R Racing) had collided and Edward Jones (Carlin) had parked his car alongside the barrier following a spin, the safety car was deployed once again.
After the restart, Esteban Ocon immediately came under pressure from Tom Blomqvist, who managed to overtake the rookie soon after that. On the two remaining laps, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader managed to keep Jake Dennis, Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Dennis van de Laar (Prema Powerteam) at bay. The Frenchman defended his second place until the end in spite of a bent suspension following contact with Felix Rosenqvist’s car. Mitch Gilbert (Fortec Motorsports), Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3), Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Hector Hurst (Team West-Tec F3) finished in sixth to tenth place. British driver Hurst scored his first-ever FIA Formula 3 European Championship point.
Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “I am really happy to have won this race. It was the first time for us on a wet track this weekend and just staying on the track was particularly important. During the safety car phase, I initially thought that I was third. Although Esteban had an obvious damage on his car in front of me, overtaking him after the restart wasn’t particularly easy.”
Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “I am a little bit disappointed, because a better result would have been possible. I slightly damaged my suspension by running too hard over the kerbstones and later on, Felix Rosenqvist hit that wheel to make the problem worse. Therefore, I had no way to keep Tom behind me after the restart.”
Jake Dennis (Carlin): “This was my first time driving a Formula 3 car on a wet track and I reckon I didn’t do too bad. At times, keeping the car on the track wasn’t easy. Scoring my maiden Formula 3 podium finish on a street circuit like here in Pau is simply great.”