The two Ferrari Driver Academy students had a tougher weekend than expected, but still brought home some points.
In the third round of the Formula 3 championship, at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, Arthur Leclerc came away with a fourth and a 14th place finish, while Oliver Bearman picked up a fifth and a 12th. Therefore they both picked up some points, but there was disappointment at not having made it to the podium. Leclerc actually got quite close in Race 1, as did Bearman in the second race, which was interrupted by two appearances from the Safety Car. Arthur is now on 43 points, but has dropped to fifth in the standings, while Bearman has 27 points and moves up to eighth.
Qualifying. As always at the Montmelo track, qualifying is always heavily affected by traffic. With 30 drivers on track, a fast lap always involves passing slower cars and luck can play a significant role. Leclerc ended up fifth, his best performance so far this season. “It was my best qualifying, but I always struggled a bit to get a good feel for the car on the quick lap,” explained Arthur. “I could have done a bit better as I did not get a hundred percent out of the car.” Bearman finished right behind his FDA colleague, getting his weekend off to a good start. “It wasn’t bad,” he said. “Sixth place is a good result and the top ten is really very tight in terms of the gaps.”
Gara-1. With the reverse grid, Bearman and Leclerc started the Sprint Race from sixth and seventh places respectively. For the first two thirds of the 20 laps, positions remained substantially unchanged, although Leclerc passed Bearman early on before they ran in tandem in seventh and eighth places. In the final five laps, Arthur began to push and he passed Kaylen Frederick, Alexander Smolyar and Juan Manuel Correa to be fourth at the chequered flag. “I’d have preferred to finish on the podium, but it’s still a good result and most importantly we saw the race pace was good,” he said with a smile. Bearman saw his car performance gradually get worse and he dropped back to 12th. “The first two laps weren’t bad, but then I really struggled with tyre management and I had understeer which was very annoying, so I couldn’t keep up the pace,” explained Oliver.
Race-2. Bearman got away really well to move up to fifth, while Leclerc was caught up in a chaotic opening lap, dropping to ninth. The Safety Car came out from laps 4 to 7 and then shortly after for another three laps. Once the race was on again, Leclerc tussled with David Vidales, dropping to twelfth, as well as picking up a 5 second penalty. Arthur then pulled off a spectacular pass on Correa, who responded very aggressively, pushing Leclerc onto the grass down the main straight. Leclerc took the flag in 11th spot, but was classified 14th once the penalty was added. Bearman had a straightforward race, rewarded with a fifth place finish, just over a second behind the third placed driver.