MEDIA RELEASE/Aston martin F1 Team - Photo: supplied Otmar, what does it mean to you…
After a brief reprieve from the wet weather in race 1, the rain return for the second race of the weekend. David Beckman started from pole for the reverse grid race, courtesy of his 10th place finish in race 1, while Alex Peroni found himself on the second row, five places ahead of fellow Australian and championship leader Oscar Piastri.
A visible mist of spray hung from the rear of the cars as they made their way around the track on the formation lap. The mist, though not as severe as that seen in Austria the week before, was certain to make life difficult for those in the mid pack.
Beckman held off a fast starting Dennis Hauger at the start, while Peroni made a tentative getaway and dropped places to Richard Verschoor and Logan Sergeant. Oscar Piastri was soon behind his fellow Australian as drivers searched for grip and position on the opening lap of the race. Hauger swept around the outside of Beckman to take the lead on lap 2, while Viscaal and Igor Fraga made contact, which spun the Charouz Racing System driver off the track.
Oscar Piastri moved ahead of Alex Peroni on the 4th lap of the race as the Campos driver began to lose touch with the lead pack and fell back into the clutches of Fernandez. Viscaal was right behind the ART and quickly moved past both Fernandez and Peroni for 7th place. The MP Motorsport drivers then sandwiched Piastri until Viscaal passed by the Australian. Liam Lawson’s weekend came to another abrupt end on lap 8 with yet another engine issue for the Kiwi driver.
“I have an engine issue, I’ve got no power,” Lawson told his engineer as he stopped near a marshal’s post for the second time this weekend.
The Safety Car as then deployed to recover the stranded HITECH Red Bull Dallara. Hauger led the restart from Beckman and Novalek, with Sergeant, Verschoor, Viscaal, Piastri and Peroni behind. Viscaal moved past teammate Verschoor and the Sergeant by running off the circuit twice in quick succession to claim 4th place, whilst under investigation for his incident with Fraga some laps before. Verschoor and Peroni ran off the track at turn 1 on lap 11, which cost the MP Motorsport and Campos drivers 2 places each.
By lap 12, Carlin driver Clement Novalak was in trouble with his tyres and vented his frustration with the team. “I have no traction at all, this is a joke,” exclaimed the 7th places driver.
Viscaal was handed a time penalty for the incident with Fraga and responded with the fastest lap of the race as he moved past Beckman and into 2nd place. On lap 14 of 22 Viscaal took the lead and set out to push ahead to negate a five second time penalty. Piastri moved past Sergeant for 4th on the same lap. Hauger’s tyres had cried enough by lap 15 and though he drove strategically, both Beckman and Piastri eventually muscled by the Red Bull car. Oscar Piastri set the fastest lap of the race once he was in clear air on lap 19.
An accident for Federico Malvestiti on lap 22 brought out the Safety Car as Viscaal was handed a second time penalty for the exceeding track limits. The combined 10 seconds in penalty times and the closing field under the full course caution left the angry MP Motorsport driver off the podium.
“This must be a joke,” a frustrated Ben Viscaal told his engineer. “The one with Sargeant, I was alongside him but he pushed me completely wide. Where do you want me to go. And then Fraga, there was nowhere to go and you expect me to go out of the way of him.”
The race ended behind the Safety Car with Viscaal the first across the line. As the timing page was corrected for penalties, David Beckman was declared the winner from Oscar Piastri and Dennis Hauger. Alex Peroni crept back into the points in 10th place after a frustrating race which saw him drop 6 places from his starting position, with a lack of pace in the Campos car.
Piastri has extended his Championship lead to 76 points ahead of Sargent with 50 and in third Pourchaire on 48 points. The other Australians Jack Doohan and Calan Williams are yet to score points.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship now heads to Silverstone UK with the F1 for more back-to-back weekends in early August.
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