New Formula 3 champion feared Abu Dhabi repeat in F3 season finale

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

New Formula 3 champion Victor Martens said he didn’t “want the same thing that happened to Lewis Hamilton last year” to happen to him in F3 season finale.

Formula 3 held its season finale at Monza, ahead of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix. However, the last race ended in controversy.

The race was red flagged on lap 16, after a spin by Kush Maini, which led to a crash with Brad Benavides.

ART driver, and championship contender, Victor Martens, who was running in third at the time, was then handed a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, which demoted him to P5.

This would have cost him a world title win, but then William Alatalo was also awarded a five-second penalty, so Martens was back up to P4. This meant that he ultimately won the 2022 F3 title.

However, it took some time before the FIA sorted everything, and in this time it was unknown who would become champion.

Martens later said during this time he was fearful that a championship title win would be ‘stolen’ from him, like it was from Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

“What went through my head was like please, I don’t want the same thing that happened to Lewis Hamilton last year,” the Frenchman said.

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“Now I can feel a bit the happiness, the achievement that I have done. It was a bit hard at the end of the race with all the panic at the end with the penalties, all the track limits that were showing up on the TV, but in the end it’s done.

“It’s been an incredible season, it’s been just so intense throughout the whole year, up and down all the time – mistakes, then getting back to the top, doing the job.

“I did the job this weekend, it was just about getting out of trouble, but it feels good.”

Asked if he felt lucky that Alatalo ultimately received a penalty, Matins said:

“To be honest, lucky, I don’t know, because I don’t feel I got lucky to win the championship.

“I did the job, we did the job with the team, and it’s how we need to think,” he concluded.

Martins’ words clearly show that most drivers are aware of what happened in Abu Dhabi, and are now even fearful of what the FIA might do in certain close situations.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix opened up a can of worms, which the FIA will have a hard time closing any time soon.

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