F3: Smolyar clinches dramatic win from sixth on the grid in thrilling race at Paul Ricard

F2 & F3 editor

Craig Draycott

In one of the greatest Formula 3 races in recent memory, Alex Smolyar clinched a dramatic Race 1 victory at Le Castellet from a starting position of sixth, beating out Alpine junior Victor Martins, who was up from 10th himself.

In third, reverse polesitter Calan Williams recovered from losing the race lead to take not only his first points in F3 but his first podium as well.

The podium trio were three of five different race leaders, with Logan Sargeant spending a brief period in P1, before dropping back to fourth. Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa also enjoyed a spell at the front, before a 5s time penalty, for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, relegated him to eighth.

Iwasa’s penalty sparked a two-way brawl for P1 in the final five laps, with Smolyar and Martins thrice exchanging the lead, the Russian only coming out on top during a frenetic final lap.

Rivalling the top two for drive of the day was Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc, the Monegasque recovering from his Qualifying retirement to climb from 30th to 12th, earning himself reverse grid pole for Race 2 at 1640 local time.

Race 3 takes place on Sunday at 1140 local time, the grid set by yesterday’s qualifying session.

For the full report, results and more news, visit the official F3 website.


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