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The FIA Formula 3 Championship completed the Bahrain Sprint Race today, which saw three experienced drivers stand on the podium with a maiden race winner in Pepe Martí.
The 2023 Formula 3 grid consists of a mix of F3 rookies and experienced drivers. Qualifying yesterday saw two rookies clinch P1 and P2 in Gabriele Mini and Gabriel Bortoleto with Gregoire Saucy in P3.
However, today’s Sprint Race saw three championship-experienced drivers stand on the podium. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet took P3 whilst MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto battled for the lead but only managed to secure P2.
Campos Racing’s Josep Maria Martí started P2 on the grid and was able to turn that front row start into a race victory. His race win today marks Martí’s maiden Formula 3 win.
Martí spoke to FormulaNerds after the Sprint Race in the press conference. The Spaniard spoke about the challenge that faces him tomorrow starting from P11, as well as speaking to Formula 3 about working with Fernando Alonso and his victorious race in Bahrain.
A battle for the lead
Throughout the Sprint Race, there were two safety cars brought out. The first was after Rafael Villagomez spun and ended up hitting the barrier. The second safety car was brought out after Formula 3 rookies, Luke Browning and Leonardo Fornaroli, spun resulting in them being out of the race.
For Martí, the race consisted of battling with Collet and Colapinto. Speaking to Formula 3, Martí explained his overtakes that allowed him to clinch the race win. He said:
“This guy [Franco Colapinto] decided to make [the restarts] quite late, but they were really really good. The first was really good, obviously, I made the move on Caio at T4.
“Then a couple laps later after the second restart, I managed to do the overtake on Franco, obviously with the help of the DRS I was able to catch up to him in T1; he half defended and I just got a really good exit out of T2 and made the move into T4 on the outside.”
Martí also said in the press conference that his win “feels amazing.” He admitted that last year he “struggled a lot especially with qualis and delivering good results in the races.” However, “over the winter”, Martí worked with Campos and the whole team and he feels they’ve “put a really good package together.”
In Qualifying yesterday, Martí was in the top spot with provisional pole but his first two laps unfortunately got deleted due to track limits. The Campos driver told Formula 3 that seeing “the chequered flag in first was obviously just great. An amazing feeling and hoping to do it more in the future.”
An “enlightening” race
After hearing about his Sprint Race today, FormulaNerds asked Martí what the biggest takeaway from the Sprint was that he can bring forward for tomorrow’s feature race. Martí said:
“Personally, obviously today was just really enlightening you could say. I think in the tests we knew that we had really good pace; but obviously to prove it today and in the way that we did because obviously Franco was not able to pull away from the DRS but I was, so in that sense the biggest takeaway for me is that we have the pace and for me it’s a massive boost of confidence to just be able to get there.
“Obviously from tomorrow, starting from P11, it’s obviously going to be really hard to score another podium, say, but I feel like with the pace we had today, it’s certainly going to be a good fight for the points.”
Tomorrow’s Feature Race allows the drivers to get more points than today’s race. For Martí, as well as being experienced in Formula 3, he recently joined Fernando Alonso’s A14 Management. The young driver commented on working with Alonso after the race.
Working with a two-time world champion
“He’s a really big character right now for me, he’s obviously been my idol for the last 17 years of my life. He’s obviously just a fantastic character, a great person off the track, and he’s an amazing driver on the track.
“So it’s just his knowledge of everything, everything he’s able to transfer to me and to my teammates in A14 is just great. It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to have that knowledge at hand and it’s just great influence, great person and yeah, really really happy.”
Tomorrow’s Feature Race sees today’s top three start further down the field. With today’s two safety cars, will tomorrow see more chaos ensue? And who will win?
Headline Feature Image: GettyImages