Bahrain F3: Hadjar inherits win after Bearman track limits penalty
Isack Hadjar was handed victory in a dramatic FIA Formula 3 sprint race in Bahrain after on-the-road winner Ollie Bearman was given a five-second penalty.
The Prema Racing rookie crossed the line 3.5s ahead of Hitech Grand Prix driver Hadjar, but was given a penalty for exceeding track limits, pushing him down to second.
Bearman started in second place, but passed polesitter Zak O’Sullivan on lap five before building up a four-second lead before crossing the line ahead.
But once the penalty was applied, Hadjar was awarded the victory and 10 points for his first race in the series.
Alexander Smolyar took the final podium spot for MP Motorsport, with the Russian driving as an Authorised Neutral Driver.
O’Sullivan had been 0.7s ahead before Bearman took the lead, but tyre struggles saw him drop out of the podium places and finish in P6.
The three ART runners were involved in a battle for seventh into the second lap, before Leclerc and Collet also got stuck into the melee. Martins emerged in front, trailed by Correa, Leclerc, Saucy and Collet.
Martins and Saucy came together at Turn 4 on lap five, with Martins suffering a puncture and Saucy losing his front wing. Both drivers were eventually forced to retire from the damage.
At the front of the pack, Vidales and Maloney tussled for third, with the Barbadian rookie emerging in front, taking the fastest lap in the process, with Vidales dropping down the order to sixth. Tyre struggles saw him overtaken on successive laps, running in 10th by lap 10.
Bearman and O’Sullivan had built up a healthy lead from the trailing pack by the halfway point, with Maloney two seconds behind them in third while Hadjar and Smolyar tussled for fourth around Turn 1, the rookie emerging in front.
Bearman snuck past O’Sullivan into Turn 1 on lap five, taking the lead from his fellow Briton before building up over 0.5s lead by the following lap, which had grown to 1.8 seconds by the halfway mark.
O’Sullivan was pushed down to fourth after Hadjar and Maloney passed him with just five laps to go, with Smolyar also in the mix in the podium fight.
The order had once again reshuffled the following lap, with Maloney in second, followed by Hadjar, O’Sullivan and Smolyar, with a rapid Leclerc on their tail. Bearman had increased his lead to run 4.2 seconds of the pack.
With just three laps to go, Leclerc snatched fifth place with a late-braking move at Turn 14 to pass the polesitter into P5.
By the final lap, the Monegasque driver had closed in on Maloney, but despite moves at Turns 11 and 13 looking like he could make it up to P4, Maloney crossed the line ahead by thousandths of a second.
Franco Colapinto, who starts on pole for Sunday’s feature race and started in P11 for the reverse-grid race, was forced to pit for a front wing change on lap four, leaving him to finish outside the points.
Kush Maini qualified third for tomorrow’s race but was hit with a pitlane start for both races after missing the weighbridge. He finished in 15th position.
Roman Stanek suffered a puncture amid the first lap chaos, forcing him to pit and drop to the back of the field. Jak Crawford was also forced to make an unscheduled pitstop for a new front wing, dropping to P20.
Niko Kari was forced to pit for a new tyre after suffering a puncture in a collision with Pepe Marti with just five laps to go.
Juan Manuel Correa
||ART Grand Prix||12.100|
||Van Amersfoort Racing||21.800|
||Van Amersfoort Racing||34.900|
||Charouz Racing System||44.800|
||Charouz Racing System||45.600|
||Charouz Racing System||53.700|
||Van Amersfoort Racing||1'16.600|
||ART Grand Prix|
||ART Grand Prix|
|View full results|
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