F3 | Monaco GP | Sprint Race | Nikola Tsolov achieves maiden win as red flag required for lap one mess

Photo Credit: Formula 3 | James Sutton
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During yesterday’s qualifying session, Gabriele Minì clinched his second consecutive pole position in Monte Carlo, finishing ahead of Christian Mansell and Luke Browning. However, with the grid reversed for the sprint race, Nikola Tsolov will start on pole, alongside his ART Grand Prix teammate Laurens van Hoepen.

The drivers started their formation lap and pulled into their grid slots. As the lights went green, there was an immediate safety car and red flag incident.

There was a multi-car incident at the Casino section. All drivers were okay, but the cars needed to be cleared by the marshals. The drivers out were Arvid Lindblad, Christian Mansell, Joshua Dufek, Alex Dunne, and Cian Shields. The rest of the grid returned to the pit lane, waiting for the restart.

Tsolov still held the lead, with Tim Tramnitz in second after overtaking van Hoepen at the start. The marshals were still working to clear the track, with Dunne and Mansell’s cars stuck together. The race was set to resume with a rolling start.

The drivers headed back out on track behind the Safety Car. By lap 4, the race resumed, and Tsolov had a great restart at the front of the field. He managed to break the one-second gap to Tramnitz, but pressure was mounting from van Hoepen.

Tramnitz had set the fastest lap and closed the gap to Tsolov to within a second. The top five drivers — Tsolov, Tramnitz, van Hoepen, Noel León, and Joseph Loake — were separated by just three seconds. Meanwhile, Mari Boya in sixth had dropped back and was being challenged by Dino Beganovic and Browning.

Beganovic set the fastest lap with a time of 1:24.919s in lap 7.

Nikita Bedrin communicates over the radio to his AIX Racing team, reporting that he has collided with the wall. Despite the setback, he persists in P23, pressing on with the race.

Tsolov’s race lead was over two seconds, as his ART teammate van Hoepen put pressure on Tramnitz for second place.

The safety car was deployed because Kacper Sztuka stopped at the exit of turn 1, after suffering a puncture. It seemed that he made contact with Sophia Floersch, leading the latter to pit due to front wing damage. Floersch was chasing Sztuka for 14th.

Initially pitting for a front wing swap, Floersch had to retire the car.

With the safety car back in, Tsolov was still in the lead as the race continued.

Tramnitz, who was over a second behind in the first sector, was put under pressure by Van Hoepen again. Boya was also struggling and dropped back from the top five.

In lap 19, Tsolov was three and a half seconds ahead of the pack, while Van Hoepen and Loake were struggling to overtake Tramnitz.

Boya had found his pace and was closing in on Loake for P5.

By lap 22, Van Hoepen was the one struggling a bit, and León was basically pushing him through the corners. Meguetounif had slowed down earlier on track and had stopped at the pit entry. The race continued.

With the chequered flag waved, Tsolov won his first Formula 3 race ahead of Tramnitz and van Hoepen. León couldn’t get past the Dutchman and settled for P4 ahead of Loake, Boya, Beganovic, Browning, Fornaroli, and Oliver Goethe in P10.

Tsolov became the sixth first-time winner this year, while van Hoepen had his third Sprint Race podium of the season.