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formula 2 podium silverstone antonelli

Formula 2 & Formula 3: Antonelli Sprint Ace, Lindblad doubles-up

formula 2 podium silverstone antonelli

The second half of the 2024 Formula 2 and Formula 3 seasons started at the birthplace of Formula 1,  during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.

The first half of the Formula 1’s official feeder series did not see a dominant driver, instead a surprise championship leader who is still seeking his first win in the series, Paul Aron.

Formula 2 Qualifying

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Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar put his Campos Racing entry on pole position with a time 1’39”368. Sharing the front row was fellow French driver and Alpine Academy member Victor Martins, lapping the track at 1’39”619 with his ART team.

Row two was a close call between Norwegian Dennis Hauger, 1’39”688, and Argentine Franco Colapinto, 1’39”711.

Row three featured recently announced F1 graduate Oliver Bearman of the Prema team and ever improving and very impressive Virtuosi team’s Brazilian rookie Gabriel Bortoleto.

American Jak Crawford (DAMS) shared row four with Indian Kush Maini (Virtuosi).

Row five was Rodin’s Zane Maloney. The boy from Barbados was looking for his first win since the opening round. Next to him was Prema’s Andrea “Kimi” Antonelli. The teenage Italian would start from pole position for Saturday’s Sprint race based on a partial reverse grid of the top ten qualifiers.

Formula 2 Sprint Race: Antonelli delivers amid the hype

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The hype around Antonelli, the Italian Kimi, has been deafening since he became a member of Toto’s Wolfpack while still in karting.

Before arriving in Formula 2 Antonelli had won every championship he was in, a la Lando Norris. A slow start to the season had some wondering if he would suffer the same fate as some young drivers who promised a lot in junior formulae but ran out of steam when they reached GP2/F2.

Well, wonder no more. The Italian “Kimi” kept his cool in the Sprint race to deliver a commanding performance to take not only his first podium of the season but also his first victory.

Thanks to English rain Antonelli led the field from a rolling start and was over 2s ahead at the end of Lap 1. Maloney was second, Maini third, Crawford fourth and Bortoleto completed the top five.

The rain intensified and Safety Car was deployed on Lap 4 and the race was red flagged.

When the race resumed after another rolling start, Antonelli again left the chasing pack in the mist. Invicta teammates Maini and Bortoleto were locked in a tight battle for third.

Misery loves company. The top two drivers in the championship Paul Aron and Hadjar both stopped on different parts of the track on Lap 8. Aron was hit by “Pepe” Marti ending the race for both. Hadjar went off on his own.

Safety car evaporated Antonelli’s advantage. The track went green on Lap 13. Once again, the rolling start saw Antonelli roll away from the competition. The battle also resumed between Maini and Bortoleto, it will go down to the wire.

Local lad Bearman was not having a jolly good day. After losing the front end plate earlier in the race, he dropped to 18th after a drive through the kitty litter on Lap 14 of 21.

By Lap 15 Czech driver Roman Stanek had moved up to 12th after starting dead last and 22nd on the grid. Top five were Antonelli, Maloney, Maini, doing all he could to keep Bortoleto behind and Martins. The following lap the French driver was put into a spin by Zak O’Sullivan, and Bearman also stopped by the trackside.

The race went under VSC and action resumed with four minutes remaining. The scenery at the front remains the same Antonelli comfortably leading ahead of Maini and Bortoleto.

Colapinto moved into the top five on the penultimate lap.

At the start of the final lap, Antonelli enjoyed a lead of seven seconds over Maloney. Maini and Bortoleto continue to fight for the third step of the podium like it was the final race and championship decider. The Brazilian finally forced his way to the final corner and briefly went airborne over the curves.

“I needed it,” radioed a very relieved and happy Antonelli on his much anticipated and long-awaited maiden victory in Formula 2.

Behind him, Maloney, Bortoleto, Maini and Colapinto completed the top five.

Formula 2 Feature Race: Hadjar ‘inherits’ win from Crawford

F2 Feature Race: Hadjar inherits win

Martins and Bearman both got the jump on pole sitter Hadjar at the start. The safety car was out before the opening lap was over. Saturday’s winner Antonelli was stranded on the track, a contact with Maini put him in a spin after coming out of Turn 3. He told the team on the radio, “Yeah, mate, it’s over.”

Racing resumed on Lap 3, before it was over Safety car was back on track after Joshua Dürksen went off, his second of the weekend.

On Lap 7 the track went green. Martins leading, but Bearman is under pressure from Hadjar.

DRS was enabled on Lap 8, this helped Hadjar pass Bearman, but then both were in the pits for tyre change at the same time.

At the end of Lap 9 race leader came into the pits for his mandatory pit stop. Dennis Hauger took the lead followed by Juan Manuel Correa and Colapinto.

Hauger’s pit stop a lap later put Colapinto into the race lead. The Argentine Williams Academy driver is developing a reputation for going long on hard tyres and then making rapid progress in the closing stages on soft tyres.

Lap 13 turned out to be unlucky for championship leader Aron. He was handed a 10s time penalty for causing a collision with Dürksen.

After 15 of 29 laps the top five were Colapinto, Correa, Marti, Barnard, and  O’Sullivan. Pole sitter Hadjar was 13th but had already completed his mandatory pit stop.

Hadjar passed Martins to take the net lead of the race on Lap 19, and within a few corners, Hadjar himself was passed by Crawford. The American DAMS driver was given a 5s penalty for an unsafe release in the pits.

The focus now was on front-running drivers and where they would come out after their respective pit stops. The top two Colapinto and Correa came into the pits on Lap 23. Colapinto came out on soft tyres in seventh place behind Maloney.

Crawford, aware of his 5s penalty, was pushing hard to extend his margin over Hadjar who was only 2s behind to have any chance of taking the victory.

Hadjar, with the same team communication skills as Yuki Tsunoda in Formula 1, was advised of Crawford’s penalty and told to ‘stay calm.’

Crawford crossed the line first but lost the win and second place to Hadjar and Maloney, respectively. The American still stepped on the third step of the podium. Colapinto was fourth, Martins fifth, Bortoleto sixth and Bearman finished seventh.

2024 Formula 2 Championship Standings

2024 F1 points after Silverstone

Second-year driver and Red Bull junior Hadjar is the new Formula 2 championship leader with 133 points. Mercedes junior Aron drops to second with 117 points. Maloney, winless since taking victories in the opening round in  Bahrain, is third on 101 points. Bortoleto is fourth with 98 points and Colapinto is fifth with 92 points.

Antonelli, who was first on Saturday and the first out on Sunday, is eighth in the championship with 59 points.

F3 Qualifying

After a wet practice session qualifying for Formula 3 was a dry run for Round 7 of 10. Championship-leading British driver Luke Browning delighted the home crowd by grabbing pole position in the final minute of the session. American ex-gamer Max Esterson put in an impressive performance to get on the front row.

Row two was Franco-Italian. Sami Meguetounif ahead of Leonardo Fornaroli.

Charlie Wurz, son of ex-F1 racer Alex, was on row three. Red Bull junior Arvid Lindblad was 11th on the grid while Ferrari Driver Academy member Swede Dino Beganovic could only manage 19th.

Formula 3 Sprint Race: Lindblad does it

default Formula 3 Sprint Race: Lindblad does it

Sunny weather greeted the young combatants. Partial reverse grid put Mexican Noel Leon on pole and Lindblad next to him.

The 18-lap race got underway with Lindblad leaping ahead of Leon to grab the lead going into Turn 1. At the end of the opening lap, the top five were Lindblad, Leon, Zagazeta, Mansell, and Voisin.

On the second lap Sophia Floersch, the only female in Formula 3, in the pits with damage to her car.

VSC on Lap 3 for debris on track. Racing resumed on the following lap and immediately the Safety Car came out after Esterson and Red Bull junior Oliver Goethe collected each other.

Lap 8 saw resumption of action, Lindblad maintaining his lead over Leon and Zagazeta. Championship leader Browning suffered damage to his car after being hit by Tim Tramnitz and dropped down to 25th.

Lap 12 Wurz squeezed Irish Alex Dunne onto the grass, the two made contact and the race was over for the Austrian. VSC lasted till the end of Lap 13.

Lindblad stayed in control and command at the front, followed by Leon, Zagazeta, Voisin and Australian Christian Mansell. Sebastian Montoya had moved into the top ten and was pressuring Meguetounif for eighth. The son of percolated Colombian was able to complete the move on the penultimate lap.

Lindblad led all the way to win by over 6s. Leon was second with Zagazeta  third. Voisin was fourth, Bulgarian Nicolai Tsolov fifth after very defensive driving against Sicilian Gabriele Mini. Montoya was seventh.

Formula 3 Feature Race: Lindblad does it again

Formula 3 Feature Race: Lindblad does it again

Mixed conditions turned Sunday’s Feature Race into a lottery, and Lindblad was the winner for the second time in two days despite taking the chequered flag in second place.

Browning was on pole. While the cars were on formation lap the Prema team brought Lindblad and Mini into the pits to change to slick tyres.

Browning made a good start on wets but before he could complete the opening lap the Safety Car was put in action as his teammate Cian Shields was stranded in Turn 3.

Racing resumed on Lap 3. Man on the move was Voisin on slick tyres. He tried to pass Esterman but the American left him no room. Voisin had no choice but to go off the track to get ahead, and more importantly to avoid an accident. This would later come back to haunt him.

Voisin was in the lead by the start of Lap 4. Safety Car was deployed after Sophia Floersch hit the barriers after contact with Beganovic.

Racing resumed on Lap 8, and so did the rain. This allowed Browning on wet tyres to snatch the lead from Voisin who was on slick tyres. Other drivers on slicks, including Lindblad, started to fall behind.

Safety Car was back on the track on Lap 9. Dunne and Montoya crashed out trying to avoid Joshua Dufek who went across the track after contact with Sztuka.

The on again and off again rain created headaches for those in cockpits and in the pits. When Safety Car pulled in, rain had stopped with most of the top runners still on wets, while early leader Voisin and Lindblad on slick towards the back end of the field. Both started moving up rapidly as the track dried.

Voisin and Lindblad were in the top ten with less than eight minutes remaining. Voisin quickly moved into fourth and with slick tyres a second faster than wets, it was obvious he will soon be fighting with the top three, with Lindblad and Mini also rapidly moving up.

With six minutes remaining on the clock Voisin was second, less than 3s behind Browning. Going outside on Chapel corner Voisin passed fellow Brit to take the lead. In all this time the new race leader had not been informed by his team that he has a 10s time penalty. Lindblad and Mini also passed Browning.

Voisin was the winner on the track. His penalty promoted Lindblad to the top step of the podium. Mini gave Prema team one-two, while only consolation for Voisin was he stayed on the podium in third place. Australian Tommy Smith was fourth and Polish racer Piotr Wisnicki completing the top five.

Lindblad is the first driver in the new era of FIA F3 to do a double in one weekend.

Formula 3 Championship Standings

2024 F3 points after Silverstone-001

Nicolas Todt’s protege Mini is the new championship leader with 118 points. Double victories over the past weekend have put Lindblad in second on 113 points. Browning has slipped to third with 112 points.

Italian Fornaroli is fourth with 93 points. He is followed in fifth by German Goethe with 85 points. Swede Beganovic is sixth with 80 points.