Roundup of the seventh round of 2022 FIA F3 season at Circuit Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.
Isack Hadjar entered the round as championship leader but a series of dramatic events across the weekend saw the title fight blew wide open, as two outsiders hurled themselves right into the title mix at a track where weather ultimately played its part.
Now, here is a full roundup of the seventh round of the 2022 F3 season, which marked the first in a triple-headed season finale.
Practice began under cloudy conditions as Jenzer’s William Alatalo led the field out onto the track but it was Charouz’s Laszlo Toth who set the early benchmark time of 2m 22.105 in the eighth minute.
Times however began to soon tumble with Alatalo, Brad Benavides, Pepe Marti and Zak O’Sullivan all spending moments as the fastest driver on track in the following six minutes, until Trident’s Roman Stanek went quickest but soon displaced by Victor Martins.
As the halfway mark of the session arrived, it however was PREMA’s Oliver Bearman who led the timesheets with 2m 06.798 ahead of Arthur Leclerc and Juan Manuel Correa.
Championship leader, Hadjar waited until the 41st minute before he went top with 2m 06.639 but times again soon tumbled, with VAR’s Reece Ushijima ultimately emerging quickest at the checkered flag ahead of Campos’ Oliver Goethe and David Vidales.
|1||Reece Ushijima||VAR||2m 05.172|
|2||Oliver Goethe||Campos||+ 1.016|
|3||David Vidales||Campos||+ 1.023|
|4||Pepe Marti||Campos||+ 1.123|
|5||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||+ 1.131|
|6||Roman Stanek||Trident||+ 1.373|
|7||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+ 1.377|
|8||Zane Maloney||Trident||+ 1.481|
|9||Jonny Edgar||Trident||+ 1.602|
|10||Oliver Bearman||PREMA||+ 1.701|
|11||Arthur Leclerc||PREMA||+ 1.768|
|12||Juan Manuel Correa||ART GP||+ 1.768|
|13||Nazim Azman||Hitech GP||+ 1.773|
|14||William Alatalo||Jenzer||+ 1.790|
|15||Jak Crawford||PREMA||+ 1.815|
|16||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||+ 1.891|
|17||Ido Cohen||Jenzer||+ 2.006|
|18||Christian Mansell||Charouz||+ 2.043|
|19||Alexander Smolyar||MP Motorsport||+ 2.069|
|20||Victor Martins||ART GP||+ 2.072|
|21||Kush Maini||MP Motorsport||+ 2.156|
|22||Enzo Trulli||Carlin||+ 2.198|
|23||Brad Benavides||Carlin||+ 2.219|
|24||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||+ 2.231|
|25||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer||+ 2.295|
|26||Franco Colapinto||VAR||+ 2.386|
|27||Kaylen Frederick||Hitech GP||+ 2.610|
|28||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||+ 2.908|
|29||Francesco Pizzi||Charouz||+ 3.130|
|30||Laszlo Toth||Charouz||+ 3.589|
Qualifying began in wet conditions due to showers having swept in during the preceding F1 FP1 session, as Jenzer’s trio of Ido Cohen, Federico Malvestiti and William Alatalo led the field out onto the damp track.
Bearman however emerged quickest once the opening set of flying laps were completed with 2m 22.931 as the red flag came out in the 11th minute, following a spin for Bearman’s teammate – Jak Crawford at Campus.
The session resumed nine minutes later with a mixture of drivers opting to gamble early on slicks whilst others initially stuck to wet tyres, of which the latter decision paid off as those on slick tyres struggled to turn their dry compound on during their early fliers.
Times though constantly tumbled in the closing ten minutes as Martins, Caio Collet and Stanek all went quickest, with the latter pair soon exchanging fastest laps in the closing minutes.
Collet however clung on at the checkered flag to clinch his maiden F3 pole position ahead of Zane Maloney, Francesco Pizzi, Goethe, Stanek, Jonny Edgar, Alexander Smolyar, Bearman, Colapinto, Benavides, Manuel Correa and O’Sullivan who claimed reverse-pole for the Sprint Race.
Out of the then top-four in the standings, Leclerc qualified highest in 20th with Hadjar and Martins placed 23rd and 24th on grid, whilst Crawford qualified 30th and last after his session-ending spin.
|1||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||2m 11.289|
|2||Zane Maloney||Trident||+ 0.262|
|3||Francesco Pizzi||Charouz||+ 0.699|
|4||Oliver Goethe||Campos||+ 0.832|
|5||Roman Stanek||Trident||+ 0.846|
|6||Jonny Edgar||Trident||+ 0.846|
|7||Alexander Smolyar||MP Motorsport||+ 0.860|
|8||Oliver Bearman||PREMA||+ 0.915|
|9||Franco Colapinto||VAR||+ 0.946|
|10||Brad Benavides||Carlin||+ 0.962|
|11||Juan Manuel Correa||ART GP||+ 0.966|
|12||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||+ 1.165|
|13||William Alatalo||Jenzer||+ 1.205|
|14||Enzo Trulli||Carlin||+ 1.383|
|15||Kush Maini||MP Motorsport||+ 1.398|
|16||Reece Ushijima||VAR||+ 1.427|
|17||Pepe Marti||Campos||+ 1.437|
|18||David Vidales||Campos||+ 1.666|
|19||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||+ 1.851|
|20||Arthur Leclerc||PREMA||+ 1.902|
|21||Ido Cohen||Jenzer||+ 2.356|
|22||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer||+ 2.632|
|23||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+ 2.681|
|24||Victor Martins||ART GP||+ 3.068|
|25||Christian Mansell||Charouz||+ 3.096|
|26||Kaylen Frederick||Hitech GP||+ 3.388|
|27||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||+ 3.999|
|28||Laszlo Toth||Charouz||+ 4.722|
|29||Nazim Azman||Hitech GP||+ 4.931|
|30||Jak Crawford||PREMA||No Time Set|
At lights out, O’Sullivan made a clean getaway to lead Manuel Correa who in return passed him on the Kemmel Straight, although the pair collided on entry to Les Combes with Manuel Correa suffering a puncture whilst O’Sullivan’s front wing was damaged.
Bearman and Benavides consequently scrapped for the lead as further mayhem reigned at Les Combes with cars running wide, whilst Colapinto suffered a spin mid-corner.
Benavides ultimately won out to lead at end of the opening lap but Bearman hit back on the run to Les Combes to take the lead, which then saw the Safety Car deployed after Rafael Villagomez nudged Christian Mansell into the barriers mid-corner and was hit with a 10 second time penalty.
Once racing resumed on Lap Six, Benavides was demoted to third by Edgar whilst Stanek passed Goethe into Blanchimont for fifth, which led to the latter colliding with Maloney and the latter flipping over as he rebounded off the tyre barriers.
Luckily both drivers walked away unharmed as the Safety Car was immediately deployed, only for the race to be red flagged on Lap Eight, in order to allow for tyre barrier repair to take place whilst Leclerc, Martins, Hadjar and Crawford had recovered to 10th, 13th, 15th and 16th positions.
The race resumed on Lap Nine behind the Safety Car for one lap before Bearman led everyone back racing a lap later, with Leclerc benefitting from a mistake by Alatalo at La Source to claim ninth, which became eighth following a lunge on Collet at the final corner.
Smolyar meanwhile snatched third from Benavides on Lap 11 with Stanek following through at Pouhon, as the American driver eventually dropped down the order, as he struggled with tyre temperature issues but clung on to eighth at the checkered flag.
Stanek then passed Smolyar on Lap 13 which eventually became second once a 5s time penalty for Edgar who spun Colapinto on the opening lap was applied post-race, which meant that Bearman ultimately won from Stanek and Smolyar with Edgar classified fourth with the fastest lap point to boot.
Leclerc meanwhile recovered to fifth ahead of Alatalo, Vidales, Benavides, Hadjar, Collet and Crawford who recovered from 30th on the grid to round out the top eleven
Carlin’s Enzo Trulli finished 16th but was disqualified post-race after his team conducted unauthorised work on his rear wing during the red flag period, in turn breaching Article 42.4 of FIA Sporting Regulations
In the driver championship, Hadjar opened up a two-point lead over Martins who finished 21st after getting penalised for a jump-start, with Leclerc now five points off the title lead as Bearman moved up to fourth and 17 points away from Hadjar.
|1||Oliver Bearman||PREMA||15||1h 07m 07.734|
|2||Roman Stanek||Trident||15||+ 4.762|
|3||Alexander Smolyar||MP Motorsport||15||+ 5.689|
|4||Jonny Edgar||Trident||15||+ 6.339|
|5||Charles Leclerc||PREMA||15||+ 7.586|
|6||William Alatalo||Jenzer||15||+ 10.609|
|7||David Vidales||Campos||15||+ 12.294|
|8||Brad Benavides||Carlin||15||+ 12.326|
|9||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||15||+ 12.538|
|10||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||15||+ 13.231|
|11||Jak Crawford||PREMA||15||+ 14.118|
|12||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||15||+ 14.266|
|13||Kush Maini||MP Motorsport||15||+ 14.670|
|14||Reece Ushijima||VAR||15||+ 16.969|
|15||Franco Colapinto||VAR||15||+ 17.887|
|16||Nazim Azman||Hitech GP||15||+ 19.147|
|17||Juan Manuel Correa||ART GP||15||+ 20.061|
|18||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer||15||+ 20.876|
|19||Francesco Pizzi||Jenzer||15||+ 21.857|
|20||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||15||+ 26.173|
|21||Victor Martins||ART GP||15||+ 27.345|
|22||Laszlo Toth||Charouz||15||+ 28.710|
|23||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||15||+ 32.465|
|DSQ||Enzo Trulli||Carlin||15||Rear Wing|
|RET||Kaylen Frederick||Hitech GP||1||Mechanical|
At lights out, Collet led Maloney and Pizzi but he and Maloney ran wide at Les Combes with the latter taking the lead, whilst Collet forced Pizzi onto the gravel trap and consequently was handed a 5s time penalty for re-joining the track unsafely.
At the Bus Stop chicane, Kush Maini hit the turn-in too hard and spun Pizzi before collecting Martins and Cohen in the ensuring chaos, which triggered a Safety Car as a consequence of stricken cars and debris.
Goethe however had snuck into the lead after Maloney tried to give the position back to Collet on Lap Two with the Trident driver demoted to fourth in the process by his teammate – Stanek, just moments before the Safety Car had been deployed.
Once the racing resumed on Lap Six, Goethe immediately lost the lead on the Kemmel Straight to Collet and Maloney, whilst Leclerc was highest out of the three main title challengers in 16th on the restart.
The Safety Car however was deployed again a lap later after Saucy had crashed on exit of Les Combes after contact with Campos’ Pepe Marti.
Racing resumed on Lap 11 with Collet leading the field back racing but Maloney got the slipstream out of Eau Rouge/Raidillon and passed the Brazilian for the lead, which he held to the flag as Stanek demoted Collet to third on Lap 14.
Bearman meanwhile had managed his tyres across much of the race after quickly climbing to sixth at the start, and was able to clear Edgar and Goethe in the closing laps to secure third once Collet’s penalty had been applied.
Maloney meanwhile survived a late charge from Stanek to secure his maiden F3 win and a one-two finish for Trident, with Bearman, Goethe, Edgar and Collet rounding out the top six, ahead of; Vidales, Alatalo, Smolyar and Ushijima.
In the driver standings, Hadjar still leads the championship despite only finishing 15th but Bearman has now leapt up to second and a single point off the Frenchman, as Martins, Leclerc and Stanek round out the top five split by just ten points with two rounds left.
|1||Zane Maloney||Trident||18||45m 33.153|
|2||Roman Stanek||Trident||18||+ 1.046|
|3||Oliver Bearman||PREMA||18||+ 5.684|
|4||Oliver Goethe||Campos||18||+ 6.737|
|5||Jonny Edgar||Trident||18||+ 7.433|
|6||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||18||+ 9.297|
|7||David Vidales||Campos||18||+ 10.831|
|8||William Alatalo||Jenzer||18||+ 10.879|
|9||Alexander Smolyar||MP Motorsport||18||+ 11.665|
|10||Reece Ushijima||VAR||18||+ 13.360|
|11||Arthur Leclerc||PREMA||18||+ 13.608|
|12||Franco Colapinto||VAR||18||+ 14.855|
|13||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||18||+ 15.784|
|14||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||18||+ 16.423|
|15||Juan Manuel Correa||ART GP||18||+ 16.909|
|16||Kaylen Frederick||Hitech GP||18||+ 17.952|
|17||Jak Crawford||PREMA||18||+ 18.311|
|18||Brad Benavides||Carlin||18||+ 20.101|
|19||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||18||+ 20.610|
|20||Nazim Azman||Hitech GP||18||+ 20.940|
|21||Francesco Pizzi||Charouz||18||+ 21.568|
|22||Pepe Marti||Campos||18||+ 23.753|
|23||Christian Mansell||Charouz||18||+ 24.691|
|24||Enzo Trulli||Carlin||18||+ 24.908|
|25||Laszlo Toth||Charouz||18||+ 25.404|
|26||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer||18||+ 73.968|
|RET||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||6||Collision|
|RET||Victor Martins||ART GP||1||Collision|
|RET||Kush Maini||MP Motorsport||0||Collision|