F3: Martins beats Leclerc to win opening Feature Race of the season in Bahrain
Alpine junior Victor Martins got his Formula 3 title challenge off to the ideal start in the opening Feature Race of the Formula 3 campaign, with the French driver beating Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc and ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy.
After starting from third on the grid, Martins took second from Trident’s Roman Stanek during an early Safety Car restart. Eying first, the Frenchman had to remain patient in the following laps, but kept close to the rear of Van Amersfoort Racing rookie Franco Colapinto, who led the majority of the race after starting from pole.
Martins made his move on Lap 15 and was followed through by the PREMA of Leclerc, who had put on a remarkable recovery from 13th.
Colapinto crossed the line in P3, but was demoted to fifth after a five-second time penalty for violating track limits. Saucy inherited the final podium position ahead of his ART teammate Juan Manuel Correa.
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PREMA duo Oliver Bearman and Jak Crawford endured disappointing qualifying sessions on Friday and started from outside of the top 10, but recovered to sixth and seventh, respectively.
Campos rookie David Vidales and Jenzer first-year William Alatalo were eighth and ninth, respectively, with American Kaylen Frederick 10th.
Martins departs the opening round with a one-point lead in the standings, with Leclerc in second and Bearman third. F3 will return for its second round at Imola on April 22.