FIA F3: Floersch up to P23 after challenging home round for Campos
In Barcelona's second FIA F3 race, Sophia Floersch could move up four places to finish P23 after a battling Spanish round, as she tries to solve qualifying issues.
When the FIA Formula 3 cars went on the grid in Barcelona for their second race of the weekend, temperatures were already up to almost 30°C in an another warm Sunday morning.
Italian Matteo Nannini, scoring his first F3 points yesterday and securing reverse-grid pole, lined up alongside Macau race winner Richard Verschoor, for a never-seen before front row of the grid. Sophia Floersch started from P27 after a challenging first race of the weekend on the Montmeló circuit: starting 29th in Saturday's feature race, the young German moved up a couple of places but struggled with pace in the final stages of the race, lamenting poor grip and recurring problems on her Campos #31 Dallara.
When the lights went out for one last time in Barcelona, Nannini got some wheelspin and squeezed Verschoor on the right, giving Alex Peroni a great chance into Turn 1. The Australian was a bit deep into the corner and made slight contact with Nannini, thus paving the way to Oscar Piastri who sneaked into the lead at Turn 4.
It was a hectic start even at the back of the grid: Fewtrell, Caldwell and Hauger came together at Turn 1, leaving the Hitech and the Trident car stricken in the gravel trap, while Hauger limped back to the pits and retired soon after.
Floersch had a good start off the line and passed Malvestiti, Pulcini and David Schumacher, moving up to P24 despite having to take evasive action to escape the first corner accident.
When the dust settled, Piastri led Nannini, Peroni, Verschoor and Sargeant, as Pourchaire - who also had a great getaway - was stuck in the middle of the battles for the lead and actually dropped down to sixth.
The Safety Car was deployed to clear the cars of Caldwell and Fewtrell and after a lengthy interruption, the green flag was back waving on lap 5. Piastri had a clean restart and was immediately told by his engineer to push like qualifying to get out of DRS range. Behind him, Nannini was under increasing pressure from Peroni.
Alessio Deledda, who had a crash-filled weekend in Barcelona, pitted and retired with more issues on his Campos car. The Italian had actually enjoyed a positive start to Race 2, as he was up into 20th position after the opening lap. Schumacher also was back into the pitlane for a front wing change, as he made contact at the final chicane with Malvestiti.
On lap 11, Peroni made a move stick on Nannini at the first corner and brought himself up to second place with the aid of DRS. Meanwhile, Piastri had taken advantage of the battle behind him and managed to break away, putting a 2-second margin between him and the pair behind. After few uneventful laps with drivers looking after their tyres, a second Safety Car spiced-up the race again: Jenzer's Federico Malvestiti, who was fighting close with Sophia Floersch, went off and came to a stop in the gravel trap at Turn 5, requiring the intervention of the marshals.
It was bad news for Piastri, who had to rebuild his gap to second-placed Peroni.
One lap later, the two Australians led the pack at the restart, but the Campos driver couldn't quite keep up the pace with his compatriot after few corners.
Floersch had dropped appriximately six seconds behind the pack during the Safety Car period and, in clear air, was back to a competitive pace: the 19-year old racer closed in on Lukas Dunner, gaining over four seconds to the MP Motorsport driver, but could not catch him in time to attempt a move.
In the closing laps, the top-three drivers remained quite spread out, while Nannini came under pressure from Verschoor with two laps to go.
After 22 laps, Oscar Piastri crossed the finish line on top and won his second race of the 2020 season. Peroni was second - his best result in the series - while Nannini scored his first podium in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Verschoor led Sargeant, Pourchaire, Lawson, Fittipaldi and Beckmann across the line in the top-10, with yesterday's race winner Jake Hughes taking P10.
Floersch finished P23 and advanced 4 places from her starting position. The Campos home race was so far the toughest round for the talented young driver, who has constantly shown promising race pace but has seen her race weekends compromised by qualifying issues.
With now three rounds to go in her rookie F3 campaign, the Spanish Campos squad will surely look into the data in order to find solutions to the gremlins that affected her last race weekends.
"Been boxing myself through the weekend in Barcelona" - she wrote.
"Had a really tough one in general even though I love the track. My lovely FIA F3 car and me didn’t get along that good this weekend. Onto the next one in couple of days".