2021 Austrian Grand Prix: The F3 debrief

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The end of an F1 triple-header saw a triple-header of F3 goodness in Austria. Three winners, including two new winners in 2021, somehow masks the unbelievable racing that we saw in every race. With the GP Grandstand team just about getting their breath back, here’s what they had to say:

Thiemo Albers-Daly: “Austria 2021 – To convince new people to F3”

There was incredibly close – and relatively contact-free for the most part – racing, which was brilliant to see. The junior drivers generally kept their cool and provided everyone with some excellent wheel to wheel racing.  If you ever want to convince new people to watch Formula 3, Austria Race 1 2021 would make a good reference point.

Danish driver Vesti needed a good weekend. The Mercedes junior driver hasn’t had a brilliant 2021 campaign so far. But as is always the case in F3, a good weekend can turn everything around. He was able to steal first place away from Hauger and kept him at bay throughout the remaining laps to claim his first win of the year in Race 3. The win now puts him up into championship contention, even if he is still some way off Hauger in first place.

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Just as it can take one weekend to change things for the better, the reverse is also true. Both Clement Novalak and Arthur Leclerc had trouble in Race 1 that saw them finish outside the points. 

And come Race 3, Victor Martins and Leclerc were battling hard, with the former squeezing the latter a bit too much ahead of Turn 4, resulting in Leclerc going off the track and crashing into poor Novalak, taking them both out of the race and the Martins finish down in P25

Jim Kimberley: “Breathtaking”

Breathtaking races from start to finish from the F3 drivers in Austria. The season feels like it’s just got started, but we’re nearly halfway! Dennis Hauger is firmly grasping the championship trophy already, as he becomes the first driver in F3 history to make the podium thrice in a weekend.

Devastation for Matteo Nannini and Clement Novalak in Race 1 somewhat gifted the win to the Prema driver, and it’ll be a tough lesson for both drivers to learn. But hey, that’s what the junior series are for, right?

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Turn 4 became the place to be all weekend for those fans lucky enough to sit in the grandstands. Not so lucky if your name is Novalak, though, as he was the innocent party of the Victor Martins vs Arthur Leclerc scrap. We viewers were lucky to not see the full replay of the incident with the Trident being t-boned out of contention.

Shout outs to David Schumacher and Frederik Vesti for keeping their leads. I’ve criticised them on our Talking F’ All podcast for losing places before, but no such worries this time. And the biggest shout out to friend of GP Grandstand, Harry Benjamin, who filled the sizeable shoes of Alex Jacques with ease in his first (but hopefully not last) outing commentating on FIA F3.

Jacob Phillips: “F3 – most consistent motorsport in 2021”

Formula 3 has been the most consistent motorsport in 2021, and this weekend was no different. All three races were exhilarating as Dennis Hauger has cemented himself as the outright championship favourite.

Consistency is key in junior formulae and the pole and three podiums for the Norwegian driver is hugely impressive. The weekend was full of impressive drives, none less so than the aforementioned Hauger. He managed to win Race 1 from 12th on the grid although he did benefit from a collision between Nannini and Novalak.

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Famous names are commonplace in F3, so it was great to see David Schumacher pick up his maiden win in Race 2. I’m a sucker for nostalgia so it doesn’t get old seeing the famous name top the timing tower. Race 3 saw Vesti put himself into title contention as Hauger’s other rivals in Doohan and Martins slipped up.

Arthur Leclerc has a lot of pressure on his shoulders so it was great to see him get racy in Austria. He did suffer a scary crash with Clement Novalak, so it was great to see both get out relatively unscathed. In a weekend that lit the touch paper, its hard to look past Hauger for my driver of the weekend.

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