Monza F3: Hughes wins dramatic race as Piastri, Sargeant retire
Jake Hughes emerged on top in a dramatic FIA Formula 3 sprint race at Monza on Sunday, as championship frontrunners Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant retired due to separate incidents.
At the start of the race, Lirim Zendeli made a quick getaway from fourth on the grid to take the lead into the first chicane, with Enzo Fittipaldi slotting into second after clearing polesitter Michael Belov.
On lap 5, Fittipaldi managed to pass Zendeli with a brilliant move around the outside of the second chicane, only for the Trident driver to retake the lead into Turn 1 on the following tour.
Fittipaldi launched a second attack two laps later heading into Parabolica, with Zendeli allowing him through with the aim of getting the slipstream on the start/finish straight.
Fittipaldi somehow managed to hold the lead going into the first chicane, but Zendeli’s front wing clipped the left-rear tyre of the HWA driver, leading to a puncture that dropped the latter out of contention.
Red Bull junior Liam Lawson, who was running right behind in third, jumped on the opportunity to pass Zendeli for the lead, with Hughes assuming second after Zendeli went straight at turn 1 on the following lap.
There was more drama just one lap later as Clement Novalak pitched Piastri into a spin at the exit of turn 1, with the Prema driver then launched into the path of an unsighted David Schumacher.
The damage to Piastri’s car was too big to continue, and the Australian driver was forced to pull off the track to retire for only the second time in the season.
However, Piastri’s championship lead remained intact after title rival Sargeant collided with Frederick Vesti heading into the Ascari chicane later in the race, suffering a puncture that eventually led to his retirement.
Vesti, too, didn’t escape unscathed, and had to pull into the pits to retire with front wing damage, marking a triple DNF for Prema, which wrapped up the teams’ championship after the feature race.
Meanwhile, at the front, HWA driver Hughes cruised to his second victory of the season, having demoted Hitech’s Lawson to second into Turn 1 prior to the incident which led to Piastri’s retirement.
ART’s Theo Pourchaire dropped to 17th at one point, but delivered a masterful recovery drive to claim the final spot on the podium, passing Zendeli a few laps from the finish.
Zendeli eventually finished fifth after a topsy turvy race, behind the ART of Alexander Smolyar.
Alex Peroni finished sixth for Campos, ahead of Pierre-Louis Chovet (Hitech) and Roman Stanek (Charouz). Trident’s Olli Caldwell and MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor completed the points scorers in ninth and tenth respectively.
Monza F3: Vesti beats Pourchaire in first race thriller
Mugello F3: Zendeli on pole for title decider, Piastri 16th