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F3 Sprint Race Results: Spain

Time for some close racing action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Who will take home 10 crucial points for the Championship?

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Zak O’Sullivan took the chequered flag first to take a lights-to-flag victory in the Sprint race in Barcelona.

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Zak O’Sullivan (centre) was the polesitter for the Sprint race (Image Credit: @ZakOSullivan on Twitter)

The top 12 qualifiers in yesterday’s 30-minute Qualifying session were reversed for the Sprint, meaning Zak O’Sullivan started on pole alongside fellow Briton Luke Browning.

Fastest in Qualifying was home hero Josep Maria ‘Pepe’ Marti, who was a class above the rest of the field with a time almost two tenths quicker than the next fastest driver. Could he manoeuvre himself back into the points starting in P12?

Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto driving for Trident would start this particular race seventh, while closest rival Gabriele Mini endured a dismal Qualifying falling foul of track limits and will line up in 18th place.

Opening laps

21 laps of racing commenced, and it was the Prema Racing car of O’Sullivan who led into the first corner, squeezing Browning on the outside to maintain first position. Leonardo Fornaroli with a bold move on Gregoire Saucy for third, braving it around the outside at Turn 2.

Sebastian Montoya further behind made a move stick on Bortoleto to claim seventh, before Ido Cohen binned it in the gravel to bring out the Safety Car.

Furthermore, Rafael Villagomez was forced to replace a damaged front wing, dropping him to the foot of the field. A collision between him and Cohen is what sent the latter out of contention.

Safety Car restart #1

A penalty for Hugh Barter for Campos Racing, five seconds added to his race time for failing to go around the bollard when rejoining the track.

The race got going again at the end of the fourth lap, O’Sullivan keeping the lead. Paul Aron in fifth position under pressure from Montoya directly behind.

Mini had a lot of positions to make up to get into the points, but was making quick progress up the field. A marvelous overtake round the outside of Taylor Barnard for P13 on lap five.

DRS was enabled on lap six, making overtaking a lot easier. Who would make the most of the increased straight line speeds?

The race develops

Yet another ballsy overtake from Mini, this time on Christian Mansell for 12th place at the Turn 7/8 complex.

Browning was sticking to the gearbox of O’Sullivan as a battle for the race lead developed, with the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver selling a few dummies to try and distract the man in first.

Browning momentarily alongside O’Sullivan on braking into the first corner on lap 10. Which of the two Williams Academy drivers would take victory in this race?

Battling at the head of the field allowed Fornaroli in third to pull within DRS range of the top two, alleviating pressure from Saucy behind.

Meanwhile Mini waltzed past home favourite Marti for 11th; he was just three positions away from points with ten laps remaining.

A series of mistake from Saucy at the start of lap 14, dropping him all the way from fourth to seventh position. All caused by running wide at the final corner of the preceding lap.

Yet more action in the minor points positions; contact between Montoya and Aron leading to a puncture for the former. Bortoleto capitalised on the chaos ahead to move up to P4, while Dino Beganovic also suffered a puncture to retire from the race.

Montoya pitted for fresh rubber, while Mansell was spun round and into the gravel by Mini. Three incidents in the space of two minutes. Out came the Safety Car for the second time.

Safety Car restart #2

The race restarted with just three laps to go, O’Sullivan with a similarly impressive getaway. Fornaroli briefly claiming second from Browning along the main straight, but yielding into Turn 1.

O’Sullivan opened up over a second margin over Browning, meaning the latter would have no DRS in his defence of second position.

In the end a comfortable victory for the Prema driver, with Browning and Fornaroli rounding out the podium. A final lap overtake for Marti on Saucy for ninth; an extra point for the Spaniard who will start tomorrow’s race on pole.

Unfortunately for Mini, a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Mansell earlier would mean an eighth place finish would yield no points, dropping him to 21st.

Sprint race final classification

Full results can be found here.

Feature Image Credit: @Formula3 on Twitter

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