After starting the race from fifth position, Victor Martins made himself a way up the pack to eventually claim a maiden Formula 3 victory over Clement Novalak and Frederik Vesti.
After Arthur Leclerc claimed victory in race 1, the reversed top 12 of the first race defined the starting grid of the second race. Starting positions are tremendously important in Zandvoort, as it was shown earlier today in race 1 with overtaking maneuvers proving to be extremely compromised due to the shape of the track.
Novalak took a great impulsion, allowing him to lead the pack after turn one. Ido Cohen was putting big pressure on the Frenchman but the Trident driver still managed to exit the start on top. Vesti was third as Martins managed to overtake a car and was slowly making himself a way up the field after almost crashing out in an early hanging.
Further down the pack, Dennis Hauger and Olli Caldwell were going at each other in a fratricidal battle, as Lorenzo Colombo interrupted the fight when he crashed out, bringing out the safety car.
Novalak was still leading the group when the safety car dived down the pitlane. The Frenchman waited as long as possible to resume the race to avoid giving slipstream to his opponents on the start-finish straight. Martins also jumped on a rare overtaking opportunity to get rid of Vesti and introduce his name inside the top 3.
In a daring braking maneuver, Jak Crawford narrowly managed to overtake Jack Doohan for P9 at the approach of turn 1. In the meantime, Novalak, Cohen, and Martins were closing up the gap to each other as the top 3 was now standing within a second. Vesti was also closely following the group, ready to jump on the smallest opportunity to reclaim his lost position.
As Caldwell and Hauger were still forming an indivisible duo, the Norwegian driver doing everything he could to stay in his teammate’s gearbox and put constant pressure on the 19-year-old.
With less than 10 laps remaining, Martins managed to pass Cohen which was slowly losing rhythm. The Israeli also saw Vesti get past him as a French battle was roaring for the race victory. In less than a lap, Martins got rid of Novalak to put his name on top of the leaderboard. The 20-year-old was showing extreme confidence and was the fastest man on track.
After 18 laps of racing, Hauger finally got past Caldwell after an intense battle that prevented the 18-year-old from making a greater comeback during the race.
Vesti was starting to put big pressure on Novalak that was seemingly struggling to contain the Danish driver. Fortunately for the Frenchman, a safety car was deployed after Amaury Cordeel exited the track and was traped in the gravel pit.
The race resumed with two laps to go but it was not enough for Vesti to make a move on his French rival. Martins managed to take a good race restart and kept his leading position. The big loser of the race restart was Hauger that had a puncture and was deprived of a good amount of points but was helped by his main rival Doohan who missed his restart and exited the race track, losing the championship advantage he was supposed to gain thanks to what looked like a promised P8 finish.
Some good comebacks were to be noted in a messy restart with David Schumacher and Leclerc making themselves a way inside the top 10 after almost eventless races. Finally, after a well-managed race end, Martins claimed his first Formula 3 victory to reward a deserving rookie season. The Frenchman now stands third in the overall drivers’ standings.
|3||ART Grand Prix||Vesti||+2.0|
|10||Charouz Racing System||Sargeant||+7.7|