ART Grand Prix driver Alex Smolyar translates reverse grid pole to victory at the Silverstone circuit ahead of David Beckmann and Clement Novalak.
The milder weather conditions of Saturday continued as race 2 of the Formula 3 weekend prepared to get underway. Russian driver Alex Smolyar started on reverse grid pole ahead of David Beckmann and Clement Novalak.
The leading trio made a clean start to the race with all 31 drivers also making it around the first few corners without incident. Among the drivers who started successfully was Oli Caldwell who started from the back of the grid after suffering a dramatic accident in his Trident during race 1.
During the opening laps, the midfield engaged in a tense battle for position with Hughes managing to pass the PREMA of Logan Sargeant. Similar maneuvers were attempted by Lirim Zendelli and Dennis Haugher who battled to progress further up the midfield.
However, the race proved disastrous for championship leader Oscar Piastri who dropped back to P16 in the early laps of the race after heading off into the gravel to avoid contact with those around him. Piastri was later forced to retire on lap 12 after troubles the PREMA driver had suffered with his DRS earlier in the season returned to plague him.
Heartbreak also struck for Sebastian Fernandez whose race was ruined by a ten second stop-go penalty after the ART Grand Prix driver found himself out of grid position at the start of the race. Equally, Jack Doohan’s race weekend went from bad to worse after the Australian racer suffered an early puncture with the HWA RACELAB youngster expressing his frustration over team radio.
The safety car was deployed on lap 5 after Igor Fraga’s Charouz became beached in the racing line. Upon the safety car restart, all driver’s made successful getaways with race leader Smolyar establishing a half a second gap to the rest of the pack. However, Smolyar quickly found himself under attack from Beckmann who attempted to pass the ART Grand Prix driver lap after lap but found himself unable to move into first place with Smolyar finding cleaner corner exits and better grip on the Silverstone circuit.
Meanwhile as the race entered its final stages, Lawson and Vesti engaged in a wheel-to-wheel fight for P5 with Vesti managing to hold on to the spot. By lap 18, Beckmann had closed in on the lead and despite constant attempts to overtake the Russian driver, he proved unsuccessful with Smolyar crossing the line ahead of the Trident. Clement Novalak came home in P3 after a largely uneventful drive.
After the race Stewards investigated both Smolyar and Beckmann for breaking the tow by drifting in the straights with a final decision expected in the coming hours.
Here are the results of the top 10:
1. A. Smolyar ART Grand Prix
2. D. Beckmann Trident
3. C. Novalak Carlin Buzz Racing
4. A. Peroni Campos Racing
5. F. Vesti PREMA Racing
6. L. Sargeant PREMA Racing
7. L. Lawson Hitech Grand Prix
8. T. Pourchaire ART Grand Prix
9. R. Verschoor MP Motorsport
10. J. Hughes HWA RACELAB
Featured Image Credit: @FIAFormula3 Twitter