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The F3 Sprint race in Australia

F3 sprint results: Australia

A dramatic F3 sprint race around the iconic Albert Park Circuit saw plenty of safety car action

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Colapinto claims the win after a sprint race full of drama, action, and safety cars. 

The safety car leads the pack at the Australian F3 sprint race.
Colapinto held onto the lead through multiple race restarts. (Image credit: Formula 3/@FIAFormula3 on Twitter)

It’s the second sprint race of the F3 season, and the first one to be held Down Under. And what a sprint race it was!

Many drivers on the grid were still finding their footing around Albert Park. For some, yesterday’s practice and qualifying session was their first introduction to the circuit.

Trident driver Gabriel Bortoleto leads the standings heading into the sprint race. His lead is only marginal, though. Behind Bortoleto sat teammate Oliver Goethe, just three points behind. Goethe’s lead on PREMA driver Dino Beganovic, who sits in third, is even more marginal. Only one point separates second and third in the standings. The sprint race provided the opportunity for a shakeup of the championship order.

The starting grid

Hitech driver Sebastían Montoya started on reverse pole, having qualified P12 yesterday. 

Hunter Yeany was handed a 10-place grid drop penalty for failing to significantly reduce his speed when double yellow flags were waved in the qualifying session. In addition, Yeany had his best lap time deleted because it had been set during the double yellows. This meant the Rodin Carlin driver started the sprint race from P29. 

Campos Racing’s Pepe Martí similarly had his work cut out for him in the sprint race. After his crash in qualifying, Martí found himself starting from the back of the grid. 

Lights out…

Montoya got away well, holding onto the lead into Turn 1. Behind Montoya, a battle for second broke out between Browning, Goethe and Collet.

Amidst the battle, Goethe found himself picking up a puncture after contact with Browning. The Trident driver was sent off into the gravel, bringing out a safety car. An early end to what looked to be a promising race for the German.

Beganovic dropped down four places on the opening lap, Goethe went off, bringing out yellow flags in sector one. Colapinto squeezed past Colapinto into Turns 9 and 10

Safety car comes in

Racing got back underway on lap 3, with race leader Montoya immediately getting away from the pack. By lap 4, Browning was right on the tail of Montoya, starting to challenge his teammate for the race lead. Browning began to search for an opportunity to overtake.

DRS was enabled on lap 5. Browning went to make a move on Montoya — but instead found himself flying over the kerb at Turn 6. It provided Colapinto with the perfect opportunity to slip up to P2, whilst Browning fell down to P5.

One lap later, Ido Cohen made contact with the wall into Turn 8, bringing his race to an end.

Montoya loses the lead

After picking up P2 following Browning’s error, Colapinto takes the race lead from Montoya’s grasp. It’s been a stellar drive for the MP Motorsport driver, having picked up five places.

Meanwhile, Pepe Martí was having a solid recovery drive. By Lap 8, the Campos driver was up an impressive 14 places, now driving in P16.

Marshalls began to recover Cohen’s car, which brought the safety car out again.

Half-way point

With ten laps remaining, we went racing once more as the safety car came in. Colapinto did well to hold onto the lead, and soon put a second between himself and Montoya.

As the green flag waved, ART teammates Frederick and Tsolov soon began to fight over P14. Meanwhile, championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto was up two places into P9.

As Browning held off teammate Miní for P6, the Brit was handed a ten-second penalty for causing a collision. Finishing the sprint race became essential for Browning, as he faced a grid penalty for Sunday’s feature race if he failed to serve the time penalty.

Lap 13 saw Aussie Tommy Smith go wide into the exit of Turn 14, sending his Van Amersfoort into the wall. The safety car came out as Smith’s car was recovered, his home race coming to an early end.

Colapinto clings on

Despite dealing with multiple race restarts, Colapinto did a great job to continue to hold onto the lead. By lap 17, the MP driver put almost a second and a half between himself and Montoya.

O’Sullivan began to challenge Montoya for P2, the two going wheel to wheel. There’s contact between them as they battled for position. In the end, it’s O’Sullivan who sweeps ahead of the reverse polesitter to claim second place.

As Beganovic attempted to get around his teammate, he was squeezed off track by Paul Aron. This saw Mini get ahead of Beganovic, the Hitehc driver moving up into P5.

A trip into the gravel trap brought Alejandro Garcia’s race to a premature end. The safety car was back out again — and, with only a lap to go, the safety car stayed out til the end.

Franco Colapinto crossed the line first, securing his third victory in F3. Rounding out the podium was Zak O’Sullivan in second, and Sebastián Montoya in third, the latter securing his first-ever podium.

The full results from the Australian F3 sprint race can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: Formula 3 on Twitter

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