MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Zane Maloney of Barbados and Trident (3) and Alexander Smolyar of MP Motorsport (11) lead the field into turn one at the start during the Round 9:Monza Feature race of the Formula 3 Championship at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Alex Pantling - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F3 Feature Race Results: Monza
Find out what happened in the final Formula 3 race of the year
Zane Maloney won the final Formula 3 Feature Race of 2022 after a red flag ended the running. Victor Martins was the driver to take the title despite incurring a penalty and finishing in fourth place.
The top three all started well, with Alexander Smolyar, Zane Maloney, and Roman Stanek going three wide at the start. But it was Maloney who won out and led into Turn 1.
Further back the Prema teammates Arthur Leclerc and Oliver Bearman fought for fifth place. They made contact, but both continued with Bearman taking the place.
Before much more racing could happen, Rafael Villagomez and David Vidales collided and caused a Safety Car. Enzo Trulli also had contact with one of the Carlin cars and had to box with damage.
By Lap 5 the cars had been cleared and the Safety Car came into the pits. Unlike Franco Colapinto yesterday, Maloney took the restart very early. He paid for it as Smolyar took the lead before Turn 1, but Smolyar then locked up allowing Martins to pass both of them.
Leclerc and Bearman continued to battle for fifth place, with Leclerc taking it back after the restart. Maloney and Smolyar fought over second place, with Smolyar winning out this time around.
Further back, the third Prema driver Jak Crawford passed William Alatalo for seventh place.
On the following lap, passes were made into Turn 1 yet again, this time with Maloney taking second place back from Smolyar.
Maloney quickly moved on to fight with Martins, and overtook him for the lead. But the overtake was done off the track, and he had to give it back to his fellow title contender.
Battle for the podium
A few laps later, there was even more chaos into Turn 1. Maloney took the race lead from Martins yet again, while a little further back Leclerc made contact with Smolyar. Stanek was also involved, and the three of them dropped down the order.
Bearman joined the hunt for the podium, taking third place from Smolyar after his contact. Crawford also passed Smolyar, while further back Jonny Edgar and Pepe Marti fought for the final point.
Smolyar dropped down to eighth place, while Leclerc and Stanek battled for sixth. But back at the front, Bearman improved to second place with the help of DRS with Martins dropping to third.
By Lap 14 Bearman was closing in on Maloney for the win, with Martins dropping out of DRS range of the two. Bearman was close enough to make a pass going into Turn 1 on the following lap, but took the lead off of the track and had to give it back.
But several laps later Martins had caught back up to the leading pair, and had drawn a gap to the drivers behind him.
On Lap 16 Kush Maini spun and caught out Brad Benavides, the pair going into the wall in an unavoidable collision. The Safety Car was brought out, with the top five drivers in the order being Maloney, Bearman, Martins, Alatalo, and Crawford.
The Safety Car was quickly followed by a Red Flag, and the drivers headed into the pits. Not long after, Martins was handed a five-second penalty for track limits which put his title fight into jeopardy.
The paddock was plunged into confusion as the stewards announced that the race would not be resumed. With more penalties to be applied, no one knew who would come out on top of the standings.
Either way, Maloney could celebrate a hard-fought and well-won Feature Race. But further back, Martins awaited to see if he would become the Formula 3 champion.
Martins’ penalty dropped him to fifth, but Alatalo also had a penalty ahead of him, and so Martins ended fourth in the running and claimed the 2022 Formula 3 title.
Bearman and Crawford ended on the podium with Maloney. Leclerc finished fifth behind Martins, ahead of Stanek, Alatalo, and Edgar. Hadjar, whose title hopes came undone in Qualifying, made his way up to ninth place, and Reece Ushijima took the final point.
After a chaotic race and an even more chaotic finish, Maloney was a deserving winner, and Martins a deserving champion.
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images
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