Prema’s Arthur Leclerc took managed to hold off the advances of Charouz Racing’s Logan Sargeant to take the first Formula Three win of the weekend.
The polesitter, Campos Racing’s Amaury Cordeel had a poor getaway when the lights went out and ended up spinning down to P30 after making contact with ART’s Alexander Smolyar.
The Aston Martin Vantage safety car made its first appearance of the weekend as Charouz’s Hunter Yeany and Jenzer Motorsport’s Johnathan Hoggard made contact on lap 17.
It was a poor start for Cordeel, as the lights went out, who was quickly swamped by Leclerc and Sargeant into the first corner and the Prema Monegasque stole the lead on the exit of Tarzan. But it was a very scrappy first lap early on as the pole sitter was spun around by Smolyar, on the exit of the turn three hairpin.
Smolyar was soon given a 10-second stop/go penalty for causing a collision with Cordeel on the end of the fifth lap.
Due to the strong winds going across the track, Sargeant had a great slipstream behind Leclerc at the beginning of the seventh lap. With assistance from the Drag Reduction System, Sargeant went side-by-side with the leading Prema as Leclerc locked up into the first braking zone on the track. However, the Monegasque managed to remain out in front.
As the race ventured over its halfway point, Leclerc remained under pressure from Sargeant who had initiated a DRS train with Hitech’s Ayumu Iwasa, Jack Crawford and MP Motorsport’s Caio Collet. However, this train started to round up the trailing pack.
On the other hand, the championship leader, Prema’s Dennis Hauger made a lunge for P7 on Victor Martins, into the turn 11 and 12 chicane, but the Norwegian ran wide and onto the gravel trap. As the championship leader returned to the track, he was vulnerable to Trident’s Clément Novalak and the Prema driver fell back into P9.
On Lap 17 of 24, Yeany and Hoggard went side-by-side into Tarzan (turn one), but the two drivers made contact. As a result, Yeany suffered suspension damage and ended up in the barrier while Hoggard skidded across the gravel and into the barrier on the exit of the second corner.
The safety car was then deployed so the track marshals could remove the stranged cars and clear away some of the gravel that sprayed across the gravel.
The safety car returned to the pit lane on lap 21 and the race got back underway. Leclerc held up the pack as much as he could and snaked away as he bolted, to minimise the affect of the slipstream. After the restart, the top three remained unchanged with Leclerc out front with Sargeant and Iwasa following up behind, respectively.
Despite being put under pressure by Sargeant, Leclerc managed to secure F3’s first race in Zandvoort as Sargeant finished P2 and Iwasa completed the podium.