Formula 3 returned to France after a long break and boy oh boy was it worth the wait. Le Castellet is known to Formula 1 fans as not always being the most exciting race on the calendar. But apparently, Formula 3 didn’t get that memo – which was great for all of us F3 fans. So without further ado, here are the key takeaways from France this weekend…
Calan Williams kept hold of the lead at the start but Logan Sargeant soon overtook him on lap seven with the top five cars separated by only two seconds. Ayumu Iwasa, Aleksandr Smolyar and then Victor Martins all led the race at some stage over the next 13 laps.
The home favourite who impressed so many in the opening round of the season in Barcelona did so again this weekend. Martins pushed hard during Race 1 and was rewarded handsomely for his efforts. Martins finished the race that he started in tenth with a fantastic second place.
Later on, when Race 2 came around, Martins once again showed that he’s going to be one of the strongest rookies and a good title contender this year. He made his way up through the field to finish in a solid third place.
Two podiums in the first two races. Not half bad. Not half bad at all. A fourth-place finish in Race 3 was another consistent result that will prove crucial in the Frenchman’s hunt for the Driver’s Title.
Leclerc on the Charge
After a disastrous qualifying that saw Charles’ younger brother retire, many thought that it would be another weekend to forget for the young Monegasque. But come Saturday, Arthur turned things around in spectacular style.
Starting plum last in 30th place for Race 1, he expertly carved his way up through the field over the course of the 20 lap race to finish a remarkable 12th place. And, whilst no points are given for 12th, it does give you reverse grid pole for Race 2.
Leclerc then managed to dominate that second race. Arthur managed to convert pole into not only an F3 points and podium finish but his first win. Never say never in Formula 3.
Consistency from Novalak
Other worthy mentions
Hitech rookie, Ayumu Iwasa, drove superbly in Race 1, making some superb overtakes throughout the race, and judging things almost perfectly throughout. Despite the time penalty he got for gaining an advantage off the track, Iwasa should still be happy with his weekend. The newcomer showed that just because you’re a rookie, it doesn’t mean you can’t get into the thick of it.
Finally, a shout out goes to Reshad de Gerus who made the bold move to switch from the wet tyre compound to slicks in Sunday’s Race 3. Despite the fact that he came out of the pits at the back of the pack with a lot of track to cover before he could even think about overtaking, he still managed to not only do this but to make his way up to 19th place by the end of the race.
Oh, and he also set several fastest laps as the track dried, coming in around five seconds quicker than the likes of Hauger and Doohan on the wet tyres. Impressive stuff from the Frenchman in his home race.
What did you think of Formula 3 in France this weekend? Let me know in the comments below.