Charles Leclerc opens his winning account at Silverstone
Season race: 3 of 33
Winner: Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Pole position: Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Weather: sunny, cold
Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) is the winner of the third FIA Formula 3 European Championship season race. Thus, the 17-year-old Monegasque became the second rookie driver to win a race at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit this weekend, with George Russell (Carlin) having won the second race the day before. Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) came second to score his third podium finish from as many races over the weekend and starts his homeward journey to Italy as points’ leader in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. The best-placed driver on home soil in the only British round of this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) finished third.
At the start, Charles Leclerc converted his first place on the grid into the race lead and led the field into the first corner. Antonio Giovinazzi and Gustavo Menezes (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) followed behind him. An error by Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) saw the safety car deployed for the first time. After the restart, the order at the front of the field remained unchanged. Initially, Leclerc was about one second clear of his rivals, while Menezes had to let the duo in front pull away. Even though Giovinazzi managed to reduce the gap a little bit later on, he wasn’t able to challenge Leclerc. Eventually, the Van Amersfoort Racing rookie driver won with a margin of 0.44 seconds.
For a long time, Menezes drove an untroubled race in third place in front of Jake Dennis, Alexander Albon (Signature) and George Russell. After the second safety car intervention, the result of a spin by Pietro Fittipaldi (Fortec Motorsports), Dennis got a chance to attack the American with Brazilian roots and went past to take third place. George Russell, Alexander Albon, Markus Pommer (Motopark), Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam), Callum Ilott (Carlin) and Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing): “My start wasn’t the best, but at least I was able to keep my position. After that, I managed to open a slight gap until I got a warning for high oil temperature in my cockpit and for a while, I didn’t know what to do. Antonio closed up, but he couldn’t overtake me. Of course, I didn’t really expect to win a race on my first weekend of racing straight away, but things were already going quite well in pre-season testing.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “I am really happy with my score of three podium finishes this weekend. During the race, I tried to put Charles under pressure to force him into a mistake, but he drove really well and didn’t give me any opportunity to overtake.”
Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam): “I was in fourth place for a long time, but then Gustavo Menezes suddenly slowed down in front of me. I had to do my utmost to avoid him, but managed. I am really happy with two podium finishes from the first race weekend of the season. For me, this was a considerably better start of the season than last year.