Poles for Boccolacci and Norris
Despite a few sprinkles, the field set off on slick tyres in qualifying. The battle for the pole was heating up until Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) provoked a red flag, leading to a four-minute sprint in which it was Dorian Boccolacci getting the nod with a best lap of 1:48.957.
With his first pole in the category, he was followed by Lando Norris, Sacha Fenestraz, Harrison Scott and Will Palmer (R-ace GP). For the second round on Saturday, the second best times put Lando Norris on top ahead of Dorian Boccolacci, Sacha Fenestraz, Will Palmer and Harrison Scott.
Norris surprises Boccolacci
Dorian Boccolacci lost the lead at the first corner to Lando Norris. Behind, Harrison Scott got past Sacha Fenestraz for third place in front of a tightly bunched field, thanks to drafting, the order changed on each lap.
While the gaps were small between the two leaders, the Frenchman could not find his way past. The battle for third place was just as intense between Harrison Scott and Sacha Fenestraz.
Lando Norris won the 15-lap race to claim his third success of the season ahead of Dorian Boccolacci and Harrison Scott. Sacha Fenestraz and Robert Shwartzman (Josef Kaufmann Racing) finished close behind the Briton. Will Palmer was next, followed by Jehan Daruvala, who battled from 16th place on the grid. The fight for the final points positions turned in favour of Max Defourny, Alexey Korneev (JD Motorsport) and Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing).
A first for Boccolacci
Pole winner, Lando Norris kept the lead at turn one, but was overtaken by Dorian Boccolacci at turn three. The Briton retook the lead before the end of the opening lap, before seeing the Frenchman and Harrison Scott get by on lap two.
The safety car was called into service on lap six after contact between Jehan Daruvala and Will Palmer. While the positions at the sharp end of the order remained unchanged, Harrison Scott finally tried to attack Dorian Boccolacci. Lando Norris tried to make the most of the situation without success. While Dorian Boccolacci came through unscathed and took his first win in the category, the order behind was reshuffled.
Max Defourny and Sacha Fenestraz proved to be the cleverest to finish on the podium ahead of Hugo de Sadeleer, wild-card entry Nikita Troitskiy (Fortec Motorsports) and Robert Shwartzman. Lando Norris ended up seventh, ahead of Nikita Mazepin (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Julien Falchero (R-ace GP) and Ferdinand Habsburg (Fortec Motorsports). James Allen (JD Motorsport) was the last of the point scorers.
Dorian Boccolacci : “Lando got a better start in race 1. It was a bit difficult to follow in the fast corners with the slipstream, but it helped a lot on the straights. I was able to pressure him all race long, but he didn’t make any mistakes and I congratulate him. I spoke with my engineer about race 2 and we completed our mission in taking the win. Now it is important to stay focused, there is another race to go. I want to thank the entire team for the work they’ve done. It was great to be on the podium with Sacha !”
Lando Norris : “The first race was rather difficult with Dorian, who was always ready to seize the smallest opportunity. Happily, I got a good start, which let me control the race. After leaving Monaco empty-handed, this victory feels good, but there is still work to be done."
Harrison Scott : “I was able to get a good start to overtake Sacha on the inside at turn one. From that moment it was an intense battle between us. We swapped positions a lot, I tried not to make a mistake, but Sacha always found a way to catch up using the draft. Having to learn Monza made things tough, but I got better on each lap.”
Max Defourny : “We were a bit unlucky in qualifying, always stuck in traffic, which cost us time. This made for the whole day difficult but we managed to make up ground. The pace was good in race 1, which gave us confidence for race 2. It is up to us find what we’re missing in order for us to win tomorrow.”
Sacha Fenestraz : “It was a race with highs and lows. I lost several positions due to unforced errors and dropped down to 9th place. The safety car helped me and got a very good re-start before making the most of the misadventures of Scott and Norris. We can do better and we will work tonight to be successful tomorrow.”
Provisional General Classification*
1. Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) 101
2. Max Defourny (R-ace GP) 84,5
3. Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing) 80
4. Harrison Scott (AVF by Adrián Vallés) 59
5. Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing) 39,5
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications