In the second FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship race, Esteban Ocon continued to improve his track record in Rússia. Following three pole positions and victory in the first race of the weekend, the Lotus Fórmula 1 junior driver also won the second race near the Russian capital. For the entire race, Antonio Fuoco withstood the pressure by his direct rival on track, Tom Blomqvist and managed to bring second place home. With his seventh victory of the season, race winner Ocon managed to extend his lead in the drivers’ standings; he now has a 109 points’ lead from Max Verstappen. The 16-year-old Dutchman retired due to technical problems.
Esteban Ocon already used the opening stages of the race to pull clear from his rival Antonio Fuoco. After only three laps, the Frenchman was leading by more than two seconds and gradually extended his margin. In a similar way, Fuoco was also able to pull a gap from Tom Blomqvist, who was ahead of Max Verstappen, Lucas Auer and Jordan King. After a few laps, Blomqvist closed up to Fuoco again and reduced the gap. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen visibly slowed down on lap eleven and had to retire in the pits at the end of lap twelve due to technical problems.
Halfway through the race, Esteban Ocon was almost four seconds clear of his team-mate Antonio Fuoco, who still wasn’t able to pull away from Blomqvist. However, the Brit didn’t mount a serious challenge to Fuoco’s second place before the chequered flag came out. Thus, behind dominant race winner Ocon, Fuoco came home ahead of Blomqvist. Fuoco scored his sixth podium finish of the year, Blomqvist took part in the prize-giving ceremony for the fifth time this season.
Lucas Auer, Jordan King, Jake Dennis, Felix Rosenqvist, Nicholas Latifi, Dennis van de Laar and Gustavo Menezes rounded out the top ten. In the process, Latifi and van der Laar only found a way past a charging Menezes in the closing stages of the race and demoted the American driver with Brazilian roots to tenth place.
Esteban Ocon, (Prema Powerteam): “Once again, I had a good start. It was my goal to pull a gap to my rival Antonio during the first couple of laps and I succeeded. After that, I had to stay focussed to avoid making any mistakes. Moreover, I tried to save my tyres. Congratulations to Antonio for his second place”.
Antonio Fuoco, (Prema Powerteam): “I almost stalled at the start, but I was able to hold on to my second place. During the race, the tyres of my car degraded, so that I had no chance anymore to follow Esteban. I even had to be careful to prevent Tom Blomqvist from overtaking me, because he was quicker than me during the second half of the race”.
Tom Blomqvist, (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “Being back on the podium after two weekends that didn’t go so well is nice. In the races, we were always good but we sometimes struggled in qualifying. That is also the thing on which we still have to work. In this race, I had no chance to mount a challenge to Antonio, because at this track, overtaking is very difficult”.