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F3: Stenshorne takes maiden win in a Melbourne thriller

Written by Sean McKean


Credit - Red Bull Content Pool / Dutch Photo Agency


On Saturday afternoon, Hitech GP’s Martinius Stenshorne took his first victory of the season in the Melbourne sprint race. It was Hitech’s second victory of the season and Stenshorne’s first in his F3 career.


As the race began, it was ART’s Laurens van Hoepen who got away well. He led the first two laps, while Stenshorne, Christian Mansell and Oliver Goethe followed closely behind. Mansell was all over the Hitech ahead – even hitting the rear of him, but both fortunately suffered minimal damage.


With DRS’s early enabling in F3, the battle for the lead constantly swapped hands between van Hoepen and Stenshorne. But, on lap five, the Norweigan passed the Dutchman in turn one and never looked back in the lead.


Also on lap five, drama hit Stenshorne’s teammate and championship leader Luke Browning. He came into the pits with a suspected problem with the engine. While troubleshooting got the car back on track, he was laps down and thus never in contention.


On lap eight, problems struck the front-running Christian Mansell. In his home race, he appeared to have suffered a slow puncture or vehicle damage from the kerbs. As a result, he fell down the order and out of contention for good points for ART.


The next lap, Prema’s Arvid Lindblad began to make himself known, passing van Hoepen for second. His next target was undoubtedly going to be the leader Stenshorne. 


However, right when Lindblad got within DRS of the Hitech ahead, a safety car came out on lap 14. In turn one, VAR’s Tommy Smith hit the back of PHM Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, putting them both out of the race.


As the safety car came back in on lap 17, many anticipated Lindblad to put huge pressure on Stenshorne ahead. But, despite being all over his gearbox, it was Martinius Stenshorne who crossed the line first to take his first career win in FIA F3.


Following behind were Arvid Lindblad and Laurens van Hoepen – both with their second podiums of the season. The Campos pair of Mari Boya and Oliver Goethe rounded out the top five. The points scorers behind were Dino Beganovic in sixth, Gabriele Minì in seventh, Nikita Bedrin in eighth, Alex Dunne in ninth and Sebastian Montoya in tenth.


The new championships' top five are as follows:


Drivers':

  1. Luke Browning (Hitech) - 25 points

  2. Arvid Lindblad (Prema) - 23 points

  3. Tim Tramnitz (MP) - 21 points

  4. Christian Mansell (ART) - 19 points

  5. Laurens van Hoepen (ART) - 18 points


Teams':

  1. ART Grand Prix - 44 points

  2. Prema Racing - 42 points

  3. Trident - 40 points

  4. Hitech Grand Prix - 35 points

  5. MP Motorsport - 27 points




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