Alex Smolyar fended off the pack ruthlessly to win his maiden FIA Formula 3 race at Silverstone for ART.
The Russian started on reverse-grid pole in front of David Beckmann, Clement Novalak and Sebastian Fernandez.
The top six on the grid remained unchanged for the first three laps until Fernandez pitted for a 10-second stop/go penalty for being out of position at the first Safety Car line on the formation lap.
That dropped him to the back of the field while championship-leader Oscar Piastri had trouble on the second lap on the exit of Luffield during his battle with Theo Pourchaire, and dropped down to 16th before Fernandez pitted.
Lap 5 and Igor Fraga stopped his Charouz out on the circuit on the Wellington straight and brought out the Safety Car as a result. The top ten by this point was Smolyar, Beckmann, Novalak, Alex Peroni, Frederik Vesti, Liam Lawson, Jake Hughes, Richard Verschoor, Logan Sargeant and Pourchaire.
After the restart, things went from bad to worse for Piastri. The Australian’s DRS had stuck open following his battles with other drivers on the Wellington straight and retired after 11 laps, making it the first time he has failed to score this season.
His nearest championship rival Logan Sargeant picked off three more cars of Verschoor, Hughes and Lawson.
Pourchaire also made up a couple of places before the flag, eventually ending the race in eighth.
One of the moments of the race was Smolyar’s manoeuvres on the Hangar straight whilst defending from Beckmann across multiple laps. An investigation has been launched and a decision will be made after the race.
On track, the Russian won from the German, with Novalak third ahead of Peroni, Vesti, Sargeant, Lawson, Pourchaire, Verschoor and Hughes. Sargeant got the extra two points for the fastest lap.
The result leaves Oscar Piastri still at the top of the championship, as the PREMA driver is 18 points ahead of team-mate Logan Sargeant in second.
The FIA Formula 3 teams will remain at Silverstone, as the next round of the championship is staged next weekend.