Credit: Wikimedia commons – Dennis Hauger in Austria.
It was an outstanding performance from Prema’s Dennis Hauger, who looked to cruise to the 2021 Formula Three title as Charouz Racing’s Logan Sargeant wins the first race of the weekend.
Although the first F3 race was planned for 8:35am local time (6:35am BST), it was brought forward due to tomorrow’s uncertain weather conditions as it was predicted to be washed out with heavy rain.
HWA Racelab‘s Oliver Rasmussen was the first retirement from the first race of the weekend, on lap two, followed by Campos Racing’s László Tóth a lap later.
It was a great start from MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins but due to the long run down to turn two, Martins was underpressure from Charouz Racing’s Sargeant straight away. As the field ventured around turn two, a few drivers volunteered to go over the sausage kerbs and onto the run off. However, by the fourth corner, after the long left-hander, Sargeant managed to take the inside line and steal the lead away from Martins.
Prema’s Dennis Hauger was sat in fourth place, as his closest F3 title rival Trident’s Jack Doohan was sat outside the points. As it stood, Hauger was on his way to claiming the F3 title.
Despite Hitech’s Jak Crawford’s best efforts to defend his third place from Hauger into turn two, on lap four, the Prema driver was able to wait patiently for an opportunity with one hand already on the 2021 crown. The chance finally came as the Norweigan overtook Crawford into turn 13.
Zdenek Chovanec was given a 10-second stop/go penalty for exceeding track limits, on lap six.
Despite patiently waiting for a mistake or an opportunity from, second place, MartinsD, Hauger finally managed to make the move stick with a move to the inside around the long third corner, on lap 11. The Norweigan knew not to take any unnecessary risks as he was driving towards his F3 title.
While Hauger’s championship rival, Doohan, was sat outside the points in 16th place, 22.3 seconds behind the leader by the 13th lap.
MP Motorsport’s Tijmen Van Der Helm had a massive blow-out in the dying embers of the race, on lap 16, as fire bellowed out of his exhaust. The young driver pulled off to the side and the virtual safety car was then deployed. But the race was only briefly terminated under VSC conditions as the track went back to green-flag running on the 17th lap of 20.
Despite the immense pressure placed onto Sargeant on the final lap by Hauger, the Charouz driver was able to hold off the 2021 F3 champion to secure victory in Sochi under the setting golden sun.
- Logan Sargeant, Charouz Racing
- Dennis Hauger, Prema
- Victor Martins, MP Motorsport