Alex Smolyar has fended off a heated last lap tussle to clinch his maiden FIA Formula 3 race victory in the final race around the famed Silverstone circuit.
The Russian driver started the reverse sprint race from pole position but struggled to establish much of a lead and spent the majority of the 20-lap affair surviving a frequent onslaught of pressure by David Beckmann who eventually followed his rival home by seventh-tenths at the line.
However, Smolyar’s race win remains provisional with race control launching a post-race investigation into excessive blocking of his rival along both of Silverstone’s two DRS-assisted straights.
Yesterday’s feature race winner Liam Lawson had a sensible race to add to his points tally finishing seventh while championship leader Oscar Piastri had a tumultuous day at the office when he had a wild off on the second lap, falling from ninth to 16th.
The young Australian then experienced an unforeseen DRS failure which left him grounded in pitlane, scoring zero points as his championship challenge takes a significant blow.
Lawson now moves to fourth in the championship, forty-points adrift of Piastri.
Smolyar made the best start off the line to convert his front row start into an early lead which he failed to relinquish.
After yesterday’s crash fest only one Safety Car period punctuated today’s race when Igor Fraga came unglued on Lap 5, requiring the assistance of the marshalls to recover his stricken Charouz-run car.
Beckmann immediately went on the attack off the restart, but ran into the stern defence of Smolyar who attracted the attention of the stewards on several occasions for being overly aggressive on his resistance to Beckmann’s assault.
Lawson had worked himself from eighth to sixth at the restart and on Lap 13 looked to have moved himself into fifth, ahead of Prema racer Frederik Vesti.
Unfortunately, the Red Bull Junior would yield the position before coming under threat from the sister Prema of Logan Sargeant as the Kiwi battled high levels of tyre degradation.
Ultimately, Lawson would lose P6 a handful of laps later as he rapidly lost touch of the leaders to head a train of his own home in seventh. But despite the disappointing race after Saturday’s triumph, Lawson still bagged a solid volume of championship points which will pay dividends in the backstages of the year.
Smolyar would duly resist a desperate last-lap challenge along the Hanger straight by Beckmann to cross the line for his debut series victory in only his eighth race start.
The F3 grid have one week to educate themselves on what occurred over the weekend with the series set to return to the British circuit next weekend for the final leg of Formula 1’s second doubleheader round.