Three podium positions for rally world champion Stig Blomqvist’s sonGiovinazzi clinches first win in series that leads to Formula 1Verstappen and Blomqvist reduce Ocon’s lead in overall standings
Triumph ‘powered by Volkswagen’ in the Alps: Antonio Giovinazzi (I) and Tom Blomqvist (GB) scored victories in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Spielberg, Austria. The son of the former rally world champion Stig Blomqvist was the outstanding driver of the weekend on the up-and-down circuit in the Austrian region of Styria, with one win and two second places in the weekend’s three races. In the final race, Giovinazzi clinched his first win in the series that leads to Formula 1.
The decision as to who would win the spectacular first race came on the first corner, when the current overall leader Esteban Ocon (F) and Max Verstappen (NL) collided, enabling Blomqvist and Giovinazzi to move into the top two spots. The two drivers in the yellow racing cars of the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin team engaged in a thrilling duel for the first ten laps. Blomqvist ultimately achieved a commanding win with a four-second lead over his teammate Giovinazzi. Max Verstappen fought back to finish in third place, in spite of suffering damage to his front-wheel suspension.
However, the talented racer was knocked back to fifth place after being stung with a five-second time penalty for overtaking while off the track. Drivers with engines made in Wolfsburg nonetheless scored a three-way victory, as Carlin driver Jake Dennis (GB) moved up to third place. Two other Volkswagen drivers likewise picked up points, namely Gustavo Menezes (USA) who finished seventh and Jordan King (GB) in ninth place.
The turbulent second race, which featured three safety car phases, looked like it was shaping up for a win ‘powered by Volkswagen’ for a long time too. However, having been in the lead for the entire race, Antonio Giovinazzi was awarded a time penalty for his driving conduct behind the safety car, and his first win in the talent series in preparation for Formula 1 therefore slipped through his fingers. As a result, Tom Blomqvist, who finished a mere 0.3 seconds behind Antonio Fuoco (I), moved up to second place. The drivers with the powerful Volkswagen engines demonstrated their class: Max Verstappen, Gustavo Menezes, Edward Jones (UAE) and Sean Gelael (RI) finished in places four to seven. Jules Szymkowiak (NL) likewise scored points by finishing in ninth place.
In the final race, the Volkswagen drivers put the icing on the cake with a one-two victory. This time, Antonio Giovinazzi kept his nerve and achieved a start-to-finish victory, finishing 3.1 seconds ahead of Tom Blomqvist. In all, seven of the top ten positions were taken by drivers with a Volkswagen engine. There was some less pleasing news too, however, as Max Verstappen, who was the fourth to cross the finishing line, was subsequently knocked back to twelfth place by a 20-second time penalty.
In the overall rankings, the Volkswagen drivers have reduced the lead of the current front-runner Esteban Ocon (France, 379 points), who failed to score in Spielberg. After 24 out of 33 races this season, Verstappen is in second place with 285 points, ahead of Blomqvist on 269. The next racing weekend is from 15 to 17 August on the legendary Nürburgring.
Quotes, FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Spielberg
Tom Blomqvist (GB), Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara Volkswagen #31“This weekend has gone excellently for me and the entire team. I’m happy to have finally made it back onto the podium and to have done so no less than three times. I can be more than happy with one win and two second places, as they have earned me important points for the championship. I’m also delighted for my teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. He really deserved to win the final race.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara Volkswagen #19“After the huge disappointment this morning, it’s a fantastic feeling to have scored my first win. We had an excellent pace throughout the weekend, and the car and the engine were incredible. Tom and I got into some great duels. Fortunately, though, I was able to hold him back in the final race. Everyone did an amazing job this weekend.”
Overall standings after 24 out of 33 races,
FIA Formula 3 European Championship
1. Esteban Ocon, 379 points; 2. Max Verstappen, 285; 3. Tom Blomqvist, 269, 4. Lucas Auer, 242; 5. Antonio Fuoco, 195; 6. Jake Dennis, 152; 7. Felix Rosenqvist, 144; 8. Jordan King, 142; 9. Antonio Giovinazzi, 133; 10. Nicholas Latifi, 10
FIA Formula 3 European ChampionshipNorisring – Result Race 101. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen 24 laps in 34m 22.248s02. Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Dallara-Volkswagen + 04.089s03. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen + 11.750s... 05. Max Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen + 13.617s07. Gustavo Menezes (USA), Dallara-Volkswagen + 16.416s09. Jordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen + 20.970s12. Sean Gelæl (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen + 28.487s Jules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen DNF
Spielberg – Result Race 201. Antonio Fuoco (I), Dallara-Mercedes 22 laps in 35m 21.893s02. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara Volkswagen +00.398s03. Lucas Auer (AT), Dallara-Mercedes +01.845s04. Max Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen +03.778s05. Gustavo Menezes (US), Dallara Volkswagen +04.684s... 07. Sean Gelael (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen +06.344s09. Jules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen +07.831s16. Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Dallara Volkswagen +18.215s18. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen + 1 lapJordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen DNF
Spielberg – Result Race 301. Antonio Giovinazzi (I), Dallara Volkswagen 24 laps in 36m 13.881s02. Tom Blomqvist (GB), Dallara Volkswagen +03.151s03. Lucas Auer (AT), Dallara-Mercedes +11.212s... 05. Jake Dennis (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen +16.566s07. Jordan King (GB), Dallara-Volkswagen+17.679s08. Gustavo Menezes (US), Dallara Volkswagen+18.393s.10. Sean Gelael (RI), Dallara-Volkswagen+20.774s12. Max Verstappen (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen+33.498s15. Jules Szymkowiak (NL), Dallara-Volkswagen+45.992s