Frederik Vesti is off the mark in Formula 3, taking his first victory in Race 1, but it’s not quite how the Dane would have envisaged it, with the race ending nine laps early due to a hazardous downpour of rain.
With more than 25% of the race left to run, only half points will be awarded to the grid, leaving Vesti with a sense of frustration on a weekend where he has shown a real pace.
Trident enjoyed their most successful race in the Championship with their driver trio proving their abilities in the wet, as Lirim Zendeli and David Beckmann took second and third for their first F3 podiums, and a late lunge from Olli Caldwell saw him earn his best finish of fourth.
It wasn’t quite such a successful afternoon for the other two PREMAs, as Oscar Piastri fell from fourth to fifth, and Logan Sargeant dropped from third to seventh.
The weather was far from conclusive ahead of the race start. Patches of the track were wet, but the main straight remained dry with just drops of rain falling on the Red Bull Ring as the cars lined up for the formation lap.
This prompted plenty of discussion down the field as to which tires to start on. The majority of the grid opted to air on the side of caution with the wets, but the likes of Federico Malvestiti and Cameron Das at the back were tempted to risk the slicks. The formation lap put this notion to bed, and they returned to the pits to switch to the wet Pirellis.
Poleman Vesti was pretty much untroubled off the line, but his teammates struggled with the conditions. The Tridents however reveled in them. Beckmann calmly hung on to second despite an attempted lunge from Piastri down the left, before teammate Zendeli launched from P6 to P2 and into the rear-view mirror of the race leader, who suddenly had to go on the defensive, just clinging on to first.
The rain was getting fiercer and Max Fewtrell clearly wasn’t happy, telling his team that he could barely see from 15th. The third Trident of Caldwell didn’t appear to be having quite the same struggle, fighting well to pass Logan Sargeant and Theo Pourchaire.