Oscar Piastri leads the 2020 Formula 3 Driver Standings ahead of his PREMA teammates Frederik Vesti and Logan Sargeant with the trio in hot pursuit of this years title.
With the length of the Formula 3 2020 Championship season undetermined, this years grid all knew the importance of getting their season off to a good start in Austria.
ART driver Sebastian Fernandez struck first by claiming pole in the first qualifying session of the season after battling with Lirim Zendeli and rookie Oscar Piastri who would start the race in second and third.
Race One proved eventful from lights out with Fernandez falling behind the Trident of Zendeli on the opening lap. Shortly after the ART driver found himself toppling further down the order after a move by Piastri which resulted in Fernandez spinning out onto the gravel and out of the race altogether. Piastri’s PREMA survived the racing incident without harm and without penalty and the young rookie quickly found himself in contention for the race win after overtaking Zendeli.
Later in the race, Zendeli found himself losing further positions with Peroni and Sargeant challenging for P2. With the pressure behind him mounting the Trident driver made a breaking error allowing both Sargeant and Peroni to move ahead of Zendeli into P2 and P3. The chaos in the midfield and the battle for the remaining podium positions allowed Piastri to establish a comfortable 3 second lead at the front of the pack.
In the closing stages of the race, the midfield fought for reverse grid pole with Clement Novalak eventually winning out to finish in P10. In the end it was a comfortable victory for Piastri on his Formula 3 debut ahead of Sargeant and Peroni who finished in the remaining podium positions.
The second race of the weekend found pole sitter Novalak challenged by the Trident of David Beckmann in the early stages of the race. Shortly after, things went from bad to worse for the Carlin driver after running wide and losing P2 to New Zealand driver Liam Lawson.
After overtaking Novalak, Lawson soon found himself on the tail of Beckmann and after some tense wheel-to-wheel racing the Hitech of Lawson took the lead of the race. Novalak eventually clawed back to finish P3 with MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor lunging ahead of Beckmann for P2.
With a few laps remaining of the race the safety car was deployed after Charouz driver Roman Stanek collided with a DRS board, littering the tack with debris. The race ended with Lawson in P1 followed by Verschoor and Novalak. Lawson’s victory in race 2 placed him second in the Drivers Championship, seven points behind Piastri.
After an exciting opening weekend, the second race weekend had a lot to live up to!
In qualifying it was PREMA driver Frederik Vesti who won pole just ahead of Beckmann and Sargeant.
The third race of the season ended prematurely as torrential rain proved hazardous in the Styrian Hills. The challenging conditions proved beneficial to pole sitter Vesti who romped to victory ahead of Trident teammates Zendelli and Beckmann who also thrived in the wet conditions.
Accidents involving Smolyar, Novalak, Stanek and Fernandez brought the safety car out on three occasions before the decision was finally taken by the stewards to Red Flag the race. As a result, Vesti was awarded his first Formula 3 victory but with only half points to show for it!
HWA found themselves on reverse grid pole with British driver Jake Hughes. However, after a poor start, Hughes found himself battling ART driver Theo Pourchaire for the race lead. As the pair battled, both fell victim to the Hitech of Lawson who raced into first.
The safety car arrived on track after a collision between Smolyar and Sophia Floersch (the only female driver on the 2020 grid). The following laps found Hughes and Lawson engaged in an exciting tussle for the race win.
However, in the last few laps of the race, disaster struck the leading pair as Lawson and Hughes dramatically collided handing 16 year old Pourchaire his first victory and both Sargeant and Beckmann unexpected podiums.
Ahead of Hungary – here are the top 10 drivers in the Championship table as it stands:
1. O.Piastri 44
2. F. Vesti 37.5
3. L. Sargaent 34
4. D. Beckamnn 31.5
5. R. Verschoor 27
6. L. Zendelli 26
7. L. Lawson 25
8. A. Peroni 17
9. T. Pourchaire 16
10. C. Novalak 11
Featured Image Credit: @PREMA_Team Twitter