Formula 3 will also start this season in the format with two races per weekend that was usual up to and including 2020. However, the sprint race takes place on Saturday and the main race on Sunday. The first six starting rows for the sprint race are determined by swapping the first twelve from Friday’s qualifying results.
Thus, pole position for Saturday’s Overture in Bahrain went to Zak O’Sullivan, with Oliver Bearman alongside him on the front row. After the red lights went out, O’Sullivan maintained his lead despite some significant nudges from Bearman on the run to the first corner. Then O’Sullivan opened up a 1.2 second lead but was unable to maintain that lead.
By the fifth of twenty laps, Bearman had closed the gap again to take the lead from O’Sullivan in the 5-6 corner combination. Bearman then appeared to be riding to an easy win. He finished 3.5 seconds ahead of number two, but was handed a five-second time penalty after the race for exceeding the track limit. As a result, the Brit had to settle for P2.
Isack Hadjar clinched the win thanks to Bearman’s penalty. The Frenchman had started fourth but had made good progress earlier in the race. Russia’s Alexander Smolyar, racing under the neutral flag, was third, 3.5 seconds behind Hadjar. Zane Maloney and Arthur Leclerc finished fourth and fifth, followed by O’Sullivan. The polesitter had put too much pressure on his tires and as a result dropped back to sixth on the final laps. Caio Collet, Kaylen Frederick, Juan Manuel Correa and David Vidales completed the top ten.
Franco Colapinto and Roman Stanek, who shared the front row of the grid for the feature race on Sunday, were unable to get involved in the battle for points. Both drivers collided at the start and Stanek suffered a flat tyre. The Czech eventually finished 24th, one position ahead of Van Amersfoort driver Colapinto.