It was Colapinto’s first visit to the Hungarian GP circuit and series newcomer team Van Amersfoort Racing’s first time running the Dallara F3 cars on the 4.7 km long circuit near Budapest.
With only a single 45-minute practice to get familiar with the circuit, the Visit Argentina supported driver started the qualifying session on the backfoot, but he still managed to slot into P11, only 0.3s off pole position, securing a front-row start for the Sprint Race.
As predicted, the first downpour of the weekend arrived on Saturday morning, soaking the circuit just before the race.
Franco took a rocket start, immediately challlenging fellow ROFGO Junior driver Oliver Goethe for P1 and it didn’t take long for Colapinto to dive up the inside of the Dane and grab the lead from him at turn one.
The race had barely even begun when it first came to a halt at the end of the opening lap when an incident brought out the safety car. Colapinto lead the field at the restart with a fast approaching Collet in his mirrors starting a nail-biting duel between the two South Americans. Despite all of the Brazilian’s efforts, Franco fiercly defended his position, maintaining the lead.
The safety car returned to the track on lap 6, bunching up the field once again. Colapinto got a good launch at the restart but was not able to shake the chasing pack off his tail.
A small mistake by the Argentinian in turn two opened the door for second-year FIA F3 contender Collet, snatching the lead from Franco with 8 laps to go.
As the rain eased, the track started to dry off, making it tricky to keep the wet tyres alive. Fortunately the battle for third behind him allowed Franco to build a comfortable gap and after 18 laps he crossed the line in second place to score his third podium of his rookie season.
‘’Another weekend another podium! I am quite happy with this result. The team and I did a good job and we proved once again what we are capable of even in these tricky conditions. It is not easy to come and qualify at these events after 5 push laps in FP when you have never seen the track. Now we are already focusing on Spa which is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar.
The F3 season continues after a short summer break on 26-28 August at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.