Oscar Piastri has swept the field in the season-opening FIA Formula 3 race in Austria, cruising to an unrivalled victory 1.6s clear of his nearest rival.
Meanwhile, a rapid start by Liam Lawson saw the Kiwi climb five positions on the opening lap before picking off one further rival in the race’s mid-stages to snare sixth on his debut for Hitachi GP.
Series sophomore Logan Sargeant recorded a career-best finish of second, holding on from a late-race surge by Alex Peroni as the young Australian rounded off the rostrum.
Drama punctuated the opening lap when pole-sitter Sebastian Fernández was collected by a fast-starting Piastri in a classic Turn 1 collision.
The incident would rule the Spaniard out from the race while it paved a way for Lawson to leapfrog himself from 12th to 7th despite a wild ride with Richard Verschoor at Turn 6 threatening to undo all his hard work.
Peroni was another beneficiary from the incident to snare fourth.
Sargeant then executed a daring lunge around the outside at Turn 4 on second-place Lirim Zendeli. The German would fight back and reclaim his position but it was evident he was unable to match the pace of Piastri who had inherited the race lead.
By lap 5 the Australian had pulled out a three-second lead and looked in total cruise control, going on to claim a commanding victory and the championship lead.
Zendali would eventually fall into the clutches of the challenging pack, dropping to fourth by lap 10 as Lawson skated his way by Friday’s pace-setter David Beckmann at Turn 3 on the same lap to snatch sixth.
With three DRS zones to toy with, Peroni quickly narrowed the margin to Sargeant but the young Australian could not muster a successful overtake.
It was a similar story for Lawson who was seemingly mired in wake of Zendeli, ultimately crossing the line in sixth after a promising start.
The 30-strong F3 grid will have one further race at the Red Bull Ring tomorrow at 7.45 pm NZT.
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