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F3 Sprint Race Results: Bahrain

Take a look at how the first race of the 2023 season unfolded around the Bahrain International Circuit

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Josep Maria Marti took the chequered flag first to win the Bahrain Sprint race, giving him an early lead in the Championship Standings.

Bullet Sports Management on Twitter: "Your Poleman for tomorrow's @fiaf3 Sprint Race : @francolapinto! ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Franco finished in P12 in qualifying, snatching the reverse grid pole for tomorrow's race. Vamosssss Franco! ๐Ÿ™Œ
Franco Colapinto of MP Motorsport started the Sprint race on pole (Image Credit: @BulletSportsMgt on Twitter)

Gabriele Mini in the Hitech Pulse-Eight car took pole on Friday’s qualifying session, and along with Gabriel Bortoleto in the Trident looked a cut above the rest of the field coming into the race. But they would be starting in 11th and 12th respectively, with the MP Motorsport car of Franco Colapinto starting on the front row alongside the #23 car of Josep Maria Marti. But who ultimately won the very first of a record-20 races this season? Read on to find out!

Opening laps

Sophia Floersch and Piotr Wisnicki, two drivers of PHM Racing by Charouz were unfortunately resigned to starting the race from the pitlane, penalised due to starting procedure infringements.

As the five red lights went out, it was Colapinto who hooked up his tyres best, maintaining his lead as the field approached the hairpin first corner. Marti briefly ran alongside the Argentinian, but he could not hold it around the outside of turn 1 for long. Forced to lift off the accelerator, Caio Collet managed to outpace Marti and take second.

Oliver Goethe in the Trident Racing got off to a flying start, moving up a couple of positions in the first lap and into sixth place. On the other hand, yesterday’s polesitter Mini stalled at the start, moving all the way down to 26th position.

Unfortunately the racing didn’t last long, as a collision between Bortoleto and Rafael Villagomez saw the latter impact the wall very heavily. This ended his race and the safety car was released, fortunately no injuries sustained by the Mexican driver.

Race restart #1

The race got going again on lap seven, with Colapinto holding first. Marti once again started well and managed to get past Collet to snatch second away.

However, a couple of cars ran into issues further in the lap, with the Hitech car of Luke Browning spinning at the first corner and Kaylen Frederick suffering from a puncture. The latter incident brought out the Virtual Safety Car, which subsequently became a full Safety Car. Nikola Tsolov’s race went from bad to worse, an earlier contact damaging his front wing and later being served a ten-second time penalty for a starting procedure infringement.

Race restart #2

As we waited for the race to resume for a second time, the race stewards were hard at work on a variety of possible transgressions, including erratic driving and even more starting procedure violations.

The Safety car peeled into the pits at the end of lap 11, and Colapinto nailed the start yet again. Marti did pull alongside, but was forced to yield the position as he ran wide at turn 4.

Closing laps

Tyre wear was due to be an ever-present worry for the entire field, but with the amount of laps under the Safety Car the drivers still had plenty of grip left to push hard right to the chequered flag.

Marti was stuck to the gearbox of Colapinto for much of lap 13. DRS was available after just one lap; Marti made the most of this new ruling by waltzing past the Argentinian on the second DRS zone of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Further behind, the two Prema drivers of Paul Aron and Dino Beganovic were battling it out for fourth and fifth places, switching positions regularly. Their relentless tussling allowed Goethe to close in on the pair.

Meanwhile Colapinto was sticking right behind Marti until the final lap, when he lost DRS to the Spanish driver up ahead. From then on it was plain sailing for Marti, who cruised to victory in the first F3 race of 2023. Colapinto secured second place, while Collet had a quiet race to finish third. Beganovic held fourth ahead of teammate Aron, while Goethe was unable to capitalise on the Prema duo’s intense battling.

The Feature race on Sunday will start in qualifying order, with Alpine Academy driver Mini heading up Bortoleto for 23 laps around the iconic track.

Sprint race final classification

Full results can be found here.

Feature Image Credit: @FIAFormula3 on Twitter

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