Red Bull prodigy Niko Kari overtook championship leader Lance Stroll late in the race to take a throughly deserved maiden victory at Imola
At the start of the race Stroll got off to a good start with Kari keeping second and George Russell trailing in 3rd. Kari was already piling on the pressure in the early stages as he forced Stroll to defend hard to keep the lead. Pedro Piquet then brought out the safety car after losing the back end of his car on the exit of the first Rivazza. The Brazilian was already having a bad time with the spin coming just after him running wide at the Villeneuve chicane.
Prior to the safety car period Joel Eriksson immediately went on the offensive by passing Russell for P4. Russell struggled to keep with the pace after already being passed by Cassidy earlier on. Callum Illott found himself in trouble when he dropped down to 17th after running wide on the exit of Villenueve. The Brit had previously been running in the poitns. Joel Eriksson then displayed pure brilliance with a spectacular overtake on Nick Cassidy. The New Zealander was left defenseless when Eriksson sweeped around the outside of him at Traguardo.
The safety car was soon deployed again when Beckmann fresh out of a dubious looking overtake on Hubert which forced the Frenchman wide and down two places in the order beeched himself in the gravel trap. The defining moment of the race came soon after the pace car pulled into the pit lane with Niko Kari, the rookie driver in the ruthless Red Bull Young Driver scheme chasing his maiden win in F3 pulling off a similar move to that of Joel Eriksson with the Finn pulling out all of the stops to pass Stroll on the outside line of Traguardo.
Illott found himself in the midst of more trouble when his ambitious attempt to overtake his teammate Adrien Newey for 14th backfired. Illott attempted to go around the outside at Traguardo but ran out of road and went straight through the gravel.
Kari held on with Lance Stroll who has the title on his mind not posing much of a challenge after the overtake. Stroll’s second place however was enough to seal Prema’s sixth consecutive constructor’s championship. Joel Eriksson’s third place extends his lead at the top of the Rookie Championship.