F3: Minì becomes eighth winner in 2024 with Monte Carlo victory

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

PREMA Racing’s Gabriele Minì secured a lights-to-flag victory, leading from pole position to the chequered flag in a dramatic Monte Carlo Feature Race. F1Technical's senior writer Balazs Szabo reports on the second F3 Monaco race.

Starting from pole position, Gabriele Mini got a great launch off the line, maintaining the lead as the field approached the Sainte Devote corner.

Later on during the opening lap, Charlie Wurz was left in the barriers at Portier after contact with Piotr Wisnicki to bring out a Safety Car. The field was released two laps later as marshals performed a great job again to clear the stricken Jenzer car.

There was not much action during the opening part of the race, but Joseph Loake completed a successful overtaking manoeuvre as he passed Mari Boya at La Rascasse on Lap 6 to claim seventh place for Rodin. Three laps later, ART’s Laurens van Hoepen passed Noel Leon into Mirabeau to move into P10.

By Lap 19, race leader Mini built up an advantage of 1.5 seconds from Mansell. However, replays revealed a bit of graining on his Pirelli's, forcing Mini to look after his tyres with eight laps still left to complete.

The next lap saw Nikola Tsolov attempt a pass on the inside of Noel Leon, but he tagged his rival into a spin. The incident also left Sami Meguetounif nowhere to go in avoidance and he crashed into the barriers. The Safety Car was deployed the clear the stricken cars.

Having taken his maiden victory yesterday, Tsolov was awarded a 10-second time penalty for the incident.

When the safety car was withdrawn ahead of Lap 23, Minì got a good enough restart to keep Mansell behind. However, the race was interrupted again two laps after the previous incident with Van Hoepen crashing into the barriers at the Tabac corner.

The field was released with a single lap to go. Mini took a great restart, keeping Mansell behind as the pair approached the Sainte Devot corner. The Italian kept his composure on the final metres of the race to secure his first victory in 2024, winning the Monaco F3 Feature Race.

Mansell followed him home in P2 with Browning earning third for Hitech. Arvid Lindblad took fourth place ahead of Leonardo Fornaroli and Ferrari-backed driver Dino Beganovic. Mari Boya finished in P7 with Tim Tramnitz, Joseph Loake and Oliver Goethe completing the top ten in Monaco.

Speaking of his victory, Mini said: “Second win in a row in Monaco, it’s just amazing winning here. Both last year and this year, there’s one win you want and for sure it’s the win in Monaco.

"I tried to go for the fastest lap on one lap, but we weren’t great on the rear tyres, so I decided to save instead of pushing to the end. I think it paid off because the fastest lap was quite fast, and I’d have needed to take a big risk to achieve it. In the end, every time there was a restart we pulled a big gap, so I think it was the right strategy to do and we brought home 25 points.”

Championship standings
With Feature Race victory and points for Pole, Gabriele Minì took over the lead in the Drivers’ Championship, climbing onto 72 points. Luke Browning is his closest rival, four points further back in second position while Leonardo Fornaroli falls to third position, now on 64 points.

Dino Beganovic added to his tally to remain fourth in the Standings on 58, while teammate Arvid Lindblad climbs up into the top five, now on 44.

In terms of the Teams’ Standings, PREMA Racing remain the team to beat, leading on 174 points after Round 4. Trident are next, now on 119 points, with ART Grand Prix third on 85. Campos Racing have the same number of points as their French rivals to sit fourth, while Hitech Pulse-
Eight are fifth, moving onto 78 points.