At a rain-soaked track in Pau, Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) scored his second FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win. At the start, the British rookie driver took the lead and celebrated an undisputed victory after 24 laps. Behind him, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) beat Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) to take the flag in second place.
“My race was good and I am very happy with my second place in my first race at Pau,” commented Cassidy. “Initially, I was behind Maximilian, but I had to wait until the restart after the safety car to overtake him. The move wasn’t without any risk, especially in these conditions, but it worked out.”
In the drivers’ standings, Günther extended his victory to eleven points from Cassidy. After his second win from as many races, Barnicoat moved up to fourth place in the drivers’ standings. The HitechGP driver also moved up into the lead of the rookie standings.
Pole-sitter Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) already saw his hopes of a podium finish fade away at the start. The Canadian had a poor getaway and returned from the opening lap down in ninth place. Ben Barnicoat used the opportunity and took the lead. Maximilian Günther, Nick Cassidy, George Russell (Hitech GP) and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) followed suit. Especially in the first few laps, leader Barnicoat clearly was the fastest driver in the field and extended his margin from second-placed Günther lap after lap. On lap eight, with Barnicoat already over five seconds ahead of Günther, Zhi Cong Li spun into the Armco barriers and caused the only safety car intervention of the race.
After the restart, Cassidy directly mounted an attack on Günther and thus took over second place. However, the driver from New Zealand never was in a position to challenge Barnicoat’s victory. At the flag, the Brit had a margin of more than two seconds on the Prema Powerteam driver. Maximilian Günther concluded the seventh race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season in third place from Russell, Ilott, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Ryan Tveter (Carlin), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark), Stroll and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin). 16-year-old David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished 17th in his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race.
Race 2 Russell claims maiden victory; Cassidy punctures
With a lights-to-flag victory at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit of Pau, George Russell (HitechGP) scored his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win of the 2016 season. Thus, the Brit also secured the third race win in a row for his team HitechGP. Behind Russell, Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) finished in second and third place respectively. In the drivers’ standings, Maxililian Günther (Prema Powerteam) remains on top, although the German failed to score any points in this race.
On a partly wet, partly dry track, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship field started into the second race of the weekend at Pau. Starting from pole position, George Russell took the lead from Sérgio Sette Câmara and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin). Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) and Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) slightly tangled on the first few metres already, but were able to continue. On lap four, however, the New Zealander had to turn into the pits with a puncture and dropped back to the end of the field. At the end of lap eight, Alessio Lorandi was the next one to make a pit stop due to a puncture after he had made contact with the Armco barriers. Thus, the Italian lost his third place to Callum Ilott.
After Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) had crashed into the barriers on lap 13, the safety car was deployed. After the restart, Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing), the only Frenchman in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship field, overtook Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) in an audacious move and claimed seventh place. Two laps later, Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) crashed into the barriers, prompting another safety car intervention. After this restart, George Russell again remained in front and safely brought this position home. Behind him, Sérgio Sette Câmara scored his first podium finish of the season from Callum Ilott, Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam), Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP), Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam), Anthoine Hubert, Mikkel Jensen, Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport). The Indian, the only driver in the field to use a Neil Brown Engineering engine, thus scored his first point in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings.