Prema continues strong start as Piastri stretches championship lead

The Prema Powerteam, partnered by Acronis, continued its strong start to the 2020 FIA Formula 3 season as Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant again finished on the podium after a chaotic race 1 in Hungary.

ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire emerged victorious to notch his second win in the championship, but only after a dramatic start saw pole-sitter polesitter Alexander Smolyar unintentionally bumped off by Sargeant after the Australian lost the back end of his Prema on the slippery kerb.

In the aftermath, Sargeant’s teammate Frederick Vesti collided with Jenzer’s Calan Williams and a resultant Safety Car bunched up the field. Although Sergeant reported damage to his car, it did not seem to affect his pace, and when Liam Lawson’s engine expired in spectacular fashion, spilling oil onto the circuit, a red flag saw the field return to the pits.

“I broke a little bit early,” said Piastri in the post race press conference. “Obviously, I started from the right-hand side of the grid, which was a massive disadvantage in that race. I got the best start that I could and then I saw Logan facing towards the inside wall, so I knew some chaos was about to unfold. I thought I was going to get through it and then I think Calan Williams spun, and sort of hit Frederik Vesti as well.

“As I came through, he clipped my left rear so I think I had either a broken rim or a slow puncture. We had to fit a new left rear tyre during the red flag, and because the car was unbalanced I was locking up the right front a lot. We had to change that as well. The start was very chaotic and I’m pretty happy that I got up to second through all that.”

Following a lengthy stoppage, 16-year-old Pourchaire stretched his lead at the front as Piastri withstood late pressure from his Prema teammate to extend his lead at the top of the driver standings to 13 points from Sargeant, as Pourchaire leapfrogged Vesti with his latest win.

“It feels amazing,” said Pourchaire. “A second win in a row. I want to thank the team for that. It’s amazing to win two races, and I won by quite a big gap. The start of the race was a bit difficult. There was the crash in front of me, and then I managed to get to P1 and was there for the whole race, so a big thanks to the Sauber Academy and of course ART Grand Prix.”

Bent Viscaal passed his MP Motorsport teammate Richard Verschoor to take fourth on the final lap from Sebastian Fernandez, Alexander Peroni and Dennis Hauger. Clement Novalak and David Beckman rounded off the points scoring finishers.

Piastri now has a stranglehold on the championship and an early buffer after again finishing second in Sunday’s wet sprint race behind David Beckman. He now leads teammate Sargeant by 26 points after three race weekends.

Motorsport Technology