The FIA Formula 3 Feature Race at Imola started on a drying track, which resulted in different tire choices. The top eight on the grid opted to start on slicks, while Caio Collet, among others, opted for rain tires on P9. The choice of the MP Motorsport driver proved to be the right one for the initial phase: he cut through butter like the proverbial hot knife and was still in the lead before the end of the first lap.
Zane Maloney started from pole position, with his teammate Roman Stanek next to him on the front row. After the red lights went out, Stanek made better progress and took the lead. However, Maloney recovered and regained control for the Tamburello corner before Collet completed his push to the lead.
As the race progressed, rain tires proved to be not the right rubber. Collet came on slicks in the second lap, which threw him back a long way and ultimately played no significant role in the fight for points. When Collet made his pit stop, the safety car was on track to allow the car to be cleared of the spinning Francesco Pizzi.
Collet’s tire change put Maloney back in front ahead of Stanek and Oliver Bearman. That didn’t last long: when the field was cleared on lap five, Pepe Martí moved up from P4 to P1 in a few corners. The Spaniard was one of the drivers who still drove on wet tyres. However, as the tarmac dried out at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Martí was unable to keep his pace and on lap seven saw Maloney pass him again.
Another neutralization followed shortly after Brad Benavides landed in the runway barrier at Piratella. Before the restart on lap ten, leader Maloney made a dramatic mistake: The 18-year-old Barbados driver was allowed to set the pace when the safety car lights went out, but slipped off the track in the penultimate corner and got stuck, standing in the grass . That meant the end of the race for him and a renewed neutralization for the other drivers.
On the lap between the two safety car situations, Bearman was able to take the lead from Stanek. The 16-year-old Briton retained first position at the restart on lap fourteen and then built up a small gap but would not win the race. Bearman was pushing his tires too hard, saw Stanek catching up and was passed by the Czech at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.
Behind Stanek, Jak Crawford finished second after catching Bearman on the last lap. Gregoire Saucy also looked to put Bearman in P3, but the latter lost control of his worn tires and sent Saucy into a spin. Isack Hadjar took advantage and was literally the smiling third; he took the last podium place. Bearman finished fourth but faces a penalty.