Caldwell bags maiden F3 victory in Barcelona after dramatic finish

Olli Caldwell was left celebrating a maiden race victory in Formula 3, keeping his cool as others left theirs.

The Prema driver had started the race from sixth on the grid after the order was reversed from Race 1 and found himself in fifth having made his way past Victor Martins before the drama unfolded ahead of him, the lead drivers twice crashing out ahead of him to hand him victory.

“It feels great to be on the top step of such a big Championship, especially after a difficult year of learning last year,” said Caldwell in the post-race press conference. “I think today has shown that it definitely was a learning year and I’m now putting that into practice. It was a crazy race! Happy to be on the top step but my focus is still to improve. I definitely made some mistakes in today’s race and I need to learn from those for the future.”

With David Schumacher having overtaken Enzo Fittipaldi for the lead on lap 12 under DRS, the Brazilian tried to exact revenge into Turn 1 but the pair collided, sending the Trident clattering into the barriers and the Charouz tumbling down the field before also retiring.

The incident promoted Caldwell into podium contention behind Matteo Nannini and Prema teammate Dennis Hauger but more drama was to follow with two laps of the race remaining, the leaders colliding in exactly the same part of the circuit and promoting Caldwell into the race lead.

Despite a late attack by Martins, it was Caldwell who managed to keep his calm to collect a maiden victory in the third tier, leading home the Frenchman and former Prema driver Frederick Vesti.

“The car lasted very well, PREMA has done a great job with it and you can’t argue with that,” added Caldwell. “It felt like I was hanging on there with the tyres at the end, I think everyone was struggling. Barcelona is a difficult track with the tyres, so it’s really just about how long you can keep them going. So the car was great, but I was still hanging on in there at the end.”

Motorsport Technology