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F3 Feature Race Results: Australia

After a chaotic Qualifying and Sprint race, who avoided the drama to take victory in the all-important Feature race?

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Gabriel Bortoleto of Trident won the Feature race around the Albert Park Circuit, a second consecutive Feature race win.

Gabriel Bortoleto of Trident Racing started the Feature race on pole position (Image Credit: @FIAFormula3 on Twitter)

Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto started the race on pole position, alongside the ART Grand Prix of Gregoire Saucy.

The earlier Sprint race was one of attrition, and was ultimately won by Zak O’Sullivan following the disqualification of initial victor Franco Colapinto. All three MP Motorsport drivers were removed from race results for illegal modifications to their cars. O’Sullivan started the Feature race in fifth position.

Ido Cohen, driving for Rodin Carlin, was handed a five-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Hugh Barter in the Sprint. He moved down from P23 to P28 on the starting grid.

The three podium finishers stressed the importance of keeping it “clean” after the first race. But who would ultimately keep it out of the gravel to take home maximum points in the Feature race? Read on to find out.

Opening laps

Fastest off the line was the #5 car of Bortoleto, who maintained the lead into Turn 1.

Bortoleto made the most of his early advantage, pulling out of the DRS range of Saucy in second by the end of the first lap.

Sebastian Montoya suffered contact with the Campos car of Christian Mansell, sending the former straight on and out of the race. A disappointing Feature race for the Sprint race podium sitter.

The crashing continued on lap 2, with Colapinto going into the outside TECPRO barrier and losing his front left wheel.

Later in the same lap the other MP Motorsport of Mari Boya crashed heavily into Turn 9. The damage suffered meant he could not continue in the race. It was later determined that contact with the ART Grand Prix of Nikola Tsolov caused Boya to lose control of his car.

Pepe Marti, who had started the race down in 30th position, made the most of the surrounding carnage to move up to 21st by the end of the second lap.

An odd incident for Kaylen Frederick, who misjudged his braking under the Safety Car and broke his front suspension. An early retirement for the ART Grand Prix driver.

Race restart

Racing resumed on lap 5, a solid start from Bortoleto allowing him to keep hold of the lead.

Saucy remained within a second of the race leader, using DRS to keep within touching distance of the Brazilian driver.

Meanwhile, Marti was continuing his charge through the field, up to 13th by lap 8.

The race develops

Piotr Wisnicki in the #31 PHM Racing by Charouz car dipped a tyre on the grass into the final corner on lap 8, sending him into a spin and damaging his rear left wheel. The Polish driver was forced to retire.

At the halfway stage of the race, the top five remained unchanged from the starting grid, with a DRS train established from first all the way down to seventh. However, Gabriele Mini lost touch with Saucy and Bortoleto ahead on lap 12. The final podium spot was now under threat.

Later in the lap a collision between Rafael Villagomez and Cohen sent the latter into a spin from which he was unable to recover. The Israeli driver became the seventh retirement of the race. A 10-second penalty for Villagomez was issued later on.

Second restart

Cohen’s stall brought out the Safety Car for a second time, bunching up the entire field. It came in at the end of lap 15, could anyone challenge Bortoleto for victory?

An immaculately timed restart for Bortoleto, as he stayed in first position. On the other hand, Oliver Goethe in the other Trident got himself a front right puncture, sending him to the foot of the field.

Closing laps

Pepe Marti miraculously clawed his way back up to the points with a wonderful overtake on Jonny Edgar at Turn 9.

Saucy took the fastest lap of the race on lap 17, making his intention of challenging for the lead all the more clear. Just half a second between him and Bortoleto.

Lap 23, the final lap. Saucy was closing on the back of race leader Bortoleto. Could the Frenchman use DRS to get past the Brazilian on the main straight?

No… only a mistake from Bortoleto would shake things up at the front. But the #5 Trident kept it clean for the rest of the race to take his second consecutive Feature race victory.

A puncture for Collet in the final sector of the final lap sent him from eighth position to outside the points in 16th. A disappointing finish for the Brazilian.

Bortoleto extends his Championship lead on 58 points, with Saucy moving up to second in the Drivers’ Standings on 38 points.

The third round of the 2023 Formula 3 season will take place in seven weeks’ time in Italy around the Imola Circuit.

Feature race final classification

Full results can be foundย here.

Feature Image Credit: @FIAFormula3 on Twitter

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