14 Apr FIA Formula Three season gets off to a progressive start
The Formula Three season got off to a challenging start with conditions that were anything but easy.
With a drying track the field was lead behind a safety car. After two laps, the green flag was out and the pack charged ahead. Pietro Fittipaldi was quick off the line and progressed from seventeenth to thirteenth. Cao was also able to gain three track positions, up to twenty-third.
There was contact in lap three; Maïsano, Leclerc and Ling had all spun resulting in a second safety car being deployed. The lap also saw Fortec driver Matt Rao spin out of the race.
On lap ten, Lorandi spun into the gravel trap causing the third safety car in the race. With four minutes left on the clock, the safety car was in and the pack once again surging forward. Cao gained another track position, bumping him up to twenty-second. Meanwhile, Fittipaldi was defending tenth position to a charging Russell. The chase continued up into the final lap where Russell managed to get past Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi crossed the line in eleventh while Cao finished in twenty-third. Cong Li finished the race in thirtieth after time spent in the pits due to contact.
It was a messy start to the second race after a collision in turn three involving Calderón, Beretta, Câmara and MacLeod causing the only safety car intervention of the race. After progressing from fifteenth on the grid to tenth during the first lap, Fittipaldi was in a battle for seventh. Fittipaldi had the pace and pushed on to come out on top in the battle against Schiller. Half way through the race, Cao surged from thirtieth to twenty-first, meanwhile Rao twenty-eighth went on to progress to twenty-forth.
With just seven laps remaining, Rosenqvist got ahead of Fittipaldi at Abbey pushing him down to ninth, but Fittipaldi took the opportunity to chase Schiller and got past, putting him back into eighth. Fittipaldi finished in the top ten in eighth, Cao was seventeenth, Rao twenty-first, and Cong Li twenty-eighth.
The final race of the weekend saw some disappointing results for the Fortec drivers after a somewhat promising start. During the first lap, Fittipaldi charged ahead to gain three positions from fifteenth on the grid to twelfth. In lap two, an error by Stroll saw the safety car deployed for the first time. Cao climbed from thirtieth to twenty-fifth.
With ten laps to go, Fortec drivers Cong Li and Rao were fighting for twenty-seventh position. With just four laps to go Fittipaldi, running in fourteenth place, spun. After stopping at Village, a second safety car was deployed. Rao’s car also did not make it to the end of the race resulting in two DNF’s for Fortec. Cao crossed the line in twenty-third while Cong Li finished in twenty-seventh.