GP2

Haryanto holds on for sprint win

Rio Haryanto has claimed his second win of the season in this morning’s sprint race in Spielberg with a drive of skill, speed and cunning to defy series leader Stoffel Vandoorne and Nobuharu Matsushita despite driving with a broken front wing for the second half of the race.
The Indonesian driver started as he meant to go on, making a great getaway as the lights went out to outdrag poleman Nick Yelloly on the inside line into turn one. Alexander Rossi tried to go to the outside but three into one didn’t fit: the American and the Briton collided, Rossi dropped back but continued, but Yelloly’s race was run.
The collision handed second place to Artem Markelov, who had the ART teammates on his rear wing after another yet quick getaway from the McLaren test driver. The Russian was pushing with everything he had for his first win, but Haryanto was equal to the challenge, defending well in the braking areas and pulling away just enough in the fast sections to cover everything off.
On lap 13 Markelov’s frustration spilled over, going late for a gap that was only half there with the Russian throwing himself up the inside as Haryanto braked: the Indonesian saw him at the last minute and opened his car but was unable to avoid him, breaking his right front wing as he tapped the back of Markelov as he ran wide. The Russian ran through the gravel but got going again, and now the Indonesian had Vandoorne on his tail.
The Belgian likewise threw everything he had at his rival, dreaming of a double win for the record books, but equally knew that pressure from behind via Matsushita and Sergey Sirotkin meant that someone was going to miss out on a podium. Haryanto’s top speed wasn’t what it should have been because of the damage, but he was looking to fulfil dreams of his own.
And at the line he had done enough: Haryanto denied Vandoorne, Matsushita and Sirotkin for the win, with just 1.3 seconds covering the four drivers. Mitch Evans had a quiet race for P5, while behind him Pierre Gasly just held off Jordan King for P6, while Alexander Rossi made a last ditch stab at the final point, crossing the line on the same time but just centimetres behind the nose of Markelov.
Vandoorne’s title ambitions were given yet another boost with the win and second place, now leading Rossi by 155 points to 78, while Haryanto closed up to 70 points ahead of Sirotkin on 46, Alex Lynn on 42 and Evans on 35 points, while in the teams’ title race ART Grand Prix are pulling further away on 184 points ahead of Racing Engineering on 96, Campos Racing on 91, DAMS on 62 and Rapax on 58 points as the grid looks ahead to the next round in Silverstone.

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

Dennis continues strong performance and takes fourth season win

Season race: 15 of 33
Track: Spa-Francorchamps
Winner: Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam)
Pole position: Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: overcast, drying track

British driver Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) won the 15th season race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. At the 7.004 kilometres long Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, he finished ahead of the two rookie drivers Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) and George Russell (Carlin), who came second and third respectively. Because his fiercest rival Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) only finished 15th, Monegasque Leclerc extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. The race at the roller-coaster circuit in the Ardennes provided first-class entertainment for the spectators with many overtaking manoeuvres and the first kilometres in the lead of a race for Tatiana Calderón (Carlin), the only female driver in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship field.

At the start, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) took the lead from Jake Dennis, while the first drivers already spun off the track that was still damp. On lap two, Dorian Boccolacci (Signature) and Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) collided while in the top five. The incident brought the safety car out. At the restart, Jensen held on to his first place, but soon came under pressure by Tatiana Calderón. The Columbian, who had the advantage of rain tyres at that point, moved up into the lead on lap five and remained in the top three for a few laps. Only on lap nine, she had to give in as the track became too dry for rain tyres. The Carlin driver, who was the first-ever lady racer to lead an FIA Formula 3 European Championship race, headed into the pits for a tyre change and eventually crossed the finish line in 18th place.

Meanwhile, Jake Dennis and Charles Leclerc were able to pull away out in front as Markus Pommer (Motopark) and Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) collided in the battle for third place. Race control showed the black flag to the German, who had previously already been issued a drive-through penalty. Antonio Giovinazzi inherited third place, but wasn’t able to hold on to it for long. The Italian had to make a pit stop due to a loose front wing and dropped out of the top ten. Thus, third place went to Callum Ilott (Carlin), who lost it to his team-mate George Russell soon after that. Russell defended his place until the chequered flag was out while Ilott had to make do with fourth. Rosenqvist, Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam), Alessio Lorandi (Van Amersfoort Racing), Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Alexander Albon (Signature) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Fortec Motorsports) rounded out the top ten after an action-packed race.

Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam): “I have to admit that I had expected more safety car interventions. On lap five, I started sliding at the end of the long straight and Mikkel Jensen slid into the tyre stacks next to me. However, there was no contact between the two of us. After that, I was first until Tatiana overtook me. However, my engineer informed me that she was running with wet tyres. Soon after that, her tyres were worn out and I was able to move up into first place again. Then, it was all about not making any mistakes and safely bringing the car home.”

Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing): “After things didn’t go well for us in qualifying, I hadn’t expected such good results from the races. I am really happy that I was even able to extend my points’ lead today. With five laps remaining, I locked up under braking twice and I am sure I lost time. Perhaps, this was exactly the time I missed to put Jake under pressure once more.”

George Russell (Carlin): “I wasn’t happy with qualifying, but this race was great. My start was good and on the next laps, I concentrated on avoiding any mistakes. Before the start, I considered using wet tyres, but eventually, I opted for slicks after all. That was the right decision.”