Tom Blomqvist wins, thus reducing Ocon’s lead

Race No: 10 von 33
Venue: Hungaroring
Winner: Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin)
Pole position: Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: overcast

Briton Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) secured the winner’s trophy in the first of the three FIA Formula 3 European championship races contested this weekend at the 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring. At the Formula 1 circuit located not far from Budapest, he passed pole-sitter Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) for the lead right at the start and afterwards, he controlled the race to clinch a never jeopardised win. Esteban Ocon and Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) joined the Briton on the podium. In the championship standings, Lotus F1 Junior Econ defended his lead but second-placed Blomqvist succeeded in reducing the gap to 50 points.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 4, race 1, Hungaroring (HUN)

Pole-sitter Esteban Ocon lost his lead to Blomqvist as early as on the way to turn one and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) also passed the 17-year-old Frenchman early. A short time later, however, the Dutchman was re-passed by Ocon and on lap six; he pitted due to a clutch problem and was forced into retirement. So, Felix Rosenqvist inherited third position.

In the opening stages, Ocon was able to match the pace of race leader Blomqvist but then, the 20-year-old succeeded in opening a gap on the championship leader and increasing it lap by lap. Afterwards, Ocon drove a lonely race as Rosenqvist in third position wasn’t able to pressurise him. Behind the Swede, Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Jordan King (Carlin) followed in fourth and fifth positions.

While the battle for the positions at the front end of the field ended early, quite a number of drivers in the midfield were ‘rewarded’ with drive-through-penalties. The first driver to receive a drive-through was seventh-placed Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing) for having ignored the track boundaries. The penalty cost the US-American his best FIA Formula 3 European Championship position to date and in the end, he had to settle for finishing 17th. Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) even received two drive-through-penalties: the first for having ignored the track boundaries and the second for having crossed the white line at the pit lane exit. Consequently, the Ferrari Driver Academy protégé finished 19th. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Dutch rookie Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing) celebrated his best FIA Formula 3 European Championship result to date by coming sixth. Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3), Dennis van de Laar (Prema Powerteam), Mitch Gilbert (Fortec Motorsports) and Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) completed the top 10.

Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “I made a good start and also prevailed in the battle for the lead against Max Verstappen. My car was really good and proved to be particularly fast in the second third of the race. So, I was able to increase my lead lap by lap. I knew that I would have a good chance of winning the race – as long as I wouldn’t make any mistake, that is.”

Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “I had too much wheel spin at the start and therefore, I wasn’t able to take the lead from my pole position. On the first four or five laps I was able to go the pace of Blomqvist but then, the performance of my tyres slowly began to decrease and I had to back down to go easy on them, thus offering Tom the opportunity to open the gap.”

Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport): “Having secured my second podium of the season is nice although this isn’t the result I had expected. Our car is quick but unfortunately not too consistent and therefore, driving it can be difficult, every now and then. But I was able to gain three positions in this race and this increases my confidence regarding the other two races of the weekend.”