Rosenqvist closes on overall lead with Spielberg victory

Felix Rosenqvist, Red Bull Ring 1

Felix Rosenqvist claimed his seventh win of the season as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship set camp at the picturesque Red Bull Ring this weekend, simultaneously gaining further ground in the increasingly intense fight for the title.

Rosenqvist picked up where he left off at the previous meeting at Zandvoort three weeks ago, setting the pace in Friday free practice at the Austrian Grand Prix venue before going on to grab pole position for both the first and second of the weekend’s three races with a commanding qualifying performance.

While a less-than-perfect start restricted Rosenqvist to second behind Britain’s Jake Dennis in Race 1, the 23-year-old Swede fought back in determined fashion in the subsequent Race 2, controlling proceedings at the front to hold off championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) on his way to the 22nd FIA F3 European Championship victory of his career.

“Another strong weekend, and it’s great to win at this track again,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It was a tough race – both Antonio and I were on the limit all the way through – but it was an important result and one that I’m very happy about. It was just a shame I lost out to Jake at the start of Race 1, though, because I felt quite a lot quicker and second is never a fantastic result from pole position. The team has done a great job once again, so big thanks to them.”

Rosenqvist – who became the first driver ever to win all three races on an FIA F3 European Championship weekend when he completed a triple at the Red Bull Ring in 2013 – now improves from third to second in the overall standings, overhauling Monaco’s Charles Leclerc. Rosenqvist currently sits 20.5 points behind leader Giovinazzi with three rounds to go.

“We are reaching a crucial time of the season when you need to be within striking distance in the standings, and thankfully we are,” Rosenqvist concludes. “I scored more points than anyone else this weekend, and we’re well-placed for the final few rounds. I’ve always been very clear about my aim of winning the title, but it’s still one race at a time and I won’t change anything in my approach over the remainder of the campaign.”

The third and final race of the weekend was stopped after just four laps amid intense rain, meaning only half points were awarded. Rosenqvist started the race from second, and was duly classified in the same position at the end of an event fully run behind the safety car.

The next round of the FIA F3 European Championship takes place in Portimão, Portugal, on September 4-6.