Frederik Vesti converted his maiden F3 pole into victory in a rain-shortened Styrian Race One, as Trident’s Lirim Zendeli and David Beckmann completed the podium.
Vesti survived increasing rain plus a virtual safety car and two safety car appearances throughout the race to fend off Zendeli and Beckmann, whilst Oscar Piastri and Olli Caldwell rounded out the top five on countback to lap 11.
Speaking of his maiden F3 victory in tough conditions, Vesti said; “I am very happy and pleased with the win and I would like to thank PREMA for doing a great job.”
As rain began to fall at the race start, Vesti got a clear getaway to lead Zendeli who leapt from sixth up to second, as Prema’s Logan Sargeant got a poor start to slide to seventh after suffering clutch issues.
Piastri briefly demoted Beckmann to fourth at turn one but the German soon got back past and settled into third behind teammate, Zendeli as the pair held position throughout race despite a momentarily off at the penultimate corner on lap 12.
Further down the field, Liam Lawson got up the inside of Alex Peroni on lap three only for the pair to briefly touch, although the latter managed to regain control of his Campos and avoid a spin reminiscent of Red Bull’s Alex Albon last weekend in F1 during a similar move.
Aleksandr Smolyar was the first casualty one lap later when he spun on the start/finish straight, hitting the pit wall before eventually retiring at turn three to bring out a virtual safety car.
Once racing resumed, everyone approached the restart tentatively with no crazy moves inside the top ten, as Vesti continued to lead Zendeli and Beckmann.
Lawson and Hitech GP teammate, Max Fewtrell both complained over team radio of worsening conditions as the rain continued to become more intense.
Carlin Clement Novalak caused the first safety car appearance when on lap nine, he had a spin on the final corner and briefly stalled before rejoining the track and pitting with a puncture to his left rear tyre.
Vesti made an excellent restart to again lead the Trident duo of Zendeli and Beckmann on lap 12, whilst Caldwell snatched fourth from Piastri with a lunge into Turn Three just before Richard Verschoor took sixth from Sargeant.
Roman Stanek then crashed at Rindt corner just as Sebastian Fernandez suffered a huge spin on the run towards turn three, forcing the safety car to come out for the final time as the race was red flagged shortly afterwards and eventually not resumed due to worsening weather conditions.
Vesti therefore was declared the winner on countback to lap 11 from Zendeli and Beckmann, with Piastri, Caldwell, Sargeant, Verschoor, Lawson, Theo Pourchaire and Jake Hughes completing the top ten.
Hughes therefore starts tomorrow’s reverse race (8:45am BST) from pole position ahead of Pourchaire, as the Brit looks to ignite his title challenge after a slow start to this season.
Fewtrell finished as the highest non-scoring Brit in 14th ahead of Enaam Ahmed and Novalak in 19 and 29th positions respectively,
|1||Frederik Vesti||Prema||11||21m 06.054|
|2||Lirim Zendeli||Trident||11||+ 0.626|
|3||David Beckmann||Trident||11||+ 0.918|
|4||Oscar Piastri||Prema||11||+ 1.698|
|5||Olli Caldwell||Trident||11||+ 2.087|
|6||Logan Sargeant||Prema||11||+ 2.551|
|7||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||11||+ 2.999|
|8||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||11||+ 3.406|
|9||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||11||+ 4.031|
|10||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||11||+ 4.436|
|11||Alexander Peroni||Campos||11||+ 4.982|
|12||David Schumacher||Charouz||11||+ 5.676|
|13||Sebastian Fernandez||ART GP||11||+ 6.074|
|14||Max Fewtrell||Hitech GP||11||+ 6.366|
|15||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||11||+ 6.771|
|16||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||11||+ 7.260|
|17||Roman Stanek||Charouz||11||+ 7.876|
|18||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||11||+ 8.631|
|19||Enaam Ahmed||Carlin||11||+ 9.319|
|20||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||11||+ 9.783|
|21||Sophia Floersch||Campos||11||+ 10.731|
|22||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab||11||+ 11.186|
|23||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer||11||+ 11.815|
|24||Cameron Das||Carlin||11||+ 13.078|
|25||Calan Williams||Jenzer||11||+ 13.531|
|26||Igor Fraga||Charouz||11||+ 13.834|
|27||Alessio Deledda||Campos||11||+ 15.189|
|28||Frederico Malvestiti||Jenzer||11||+ 15.687|
|29||Clement Novalak||Carlin||11||+ 1 lap|
|30||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART GP||4||DNF|