Carlin's Kaylen Frederick claimed his second win of the year in race one at Spa Francorchamps, after an intense battle with Chris Dittmann Racing's Ayrton Simmons.
Both took turns at leading the race, but Frederick made a move stick on the polesitter on the penultimate lap, and claimed the win by 0.864s from Simmons, while Manuel Maldonado threatened to join the lead battle and claimed third for Fortec after moving up from seventh on the grid.
Championship leader Clement Novalak was fourth for Carlin ahead of Douglas Motorsport's Kiern Jewiss, while Double R's Hampus Ericsson took sixth. Ulysse De Pauw claimed seventh at his local circuit for Douglas Motorsport ahead of Fortec's Johnathan Hoggard, with Lucas Petersson (Carlin) and Sasakorn Chaimongkol (Hillspeed) completing the top-10.
A brief rain shower before the start threatened to add extra spice to the contest, but by the time the cars started the formation lap the shower had ended with the track drying rapidly, and all drivers starting on slick tyres.
At the start, Simmons made a good start to establish a gap to his rivals, enough to deny anyone a tow on the way to Les Combes, while Frederick began his progress by taking third on the opening tour, as team mate Petersson dropped to seventh.
Simmons held a lead of almost a second over Verhagen at the end of the first lap, but next time around it was clear that Frederick was the man to watch as he not only passed the Double R driver, but closed Simmons' lead down to 0.559 seconds.
The margin between the two was down to three tenths at the end of lap three, and Frederick made the most of a good slipstream to challenge for the lead at Les Combes on lap four. Simmons held the inside line, but Frederick moved past at the right hander heading down to Bruxelles.
Frederick held a lead of six tenths as they started lap five, but that wasn't enough to stop Simmons retaking the lead in an almost mirror image of Frederick's pass the lap before.
The lead battle meant that Verhagen in third was able to keep up with the lead trio, taking Maldonado and Novalak along with him. Showing strong pave, the Venezuelan made a move stick on Verhagen on lap seven, with the American pitting on the same lap and plummeting down to the back.
Simmons was unable to make a break at the front, and on lap eight, the decisive move came as Frederick surged back past, and this time was able to create enough of a gap to prevent a slipstream challenge on the final tour. Frederick's winning margin of almost nine tenths secured his first win since the season opening weekend at Oulton Park, while Maldonado claimed another podium, finishing six tenths clear of championship leader Novalak, who claimed fourth place for the fourth race in succession, but still extended his championship lead thanks to Hoggard's eighth place finish.
Post race, a one second penalty was handed to the driver of car 22 (Lucas Petersson) for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, which therefore elevated Chaimongkol to ninth and Petersson down to 10th in the final classification.
The top three drivers on the podium were presented with their trophies by BRDC member Darren Turner.
The second race of the BRDC British F3 Championship weekend at Spa takes place at 09.35 local time tomorrow morning.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Spa Francorchamps race one final result:
1. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 9 laps
2. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.864s
3. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +1.489s
4. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +2.098s
5. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +3.648s
6. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, +7.280s
7. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +7.679s
8. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, +7.894s
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +9.732s
10. Lucas Petersson, Carlin, +10.012s
11. Nico Varrone, Hillspeed, +10.077s
12. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +11.365s
13. Kris Wright, Fortec Motorsports, +11.894s
14. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +19.333s
15. Andreas Estner, Lanan Racing, +19.844s
16. Nazim Azman, Chris Dittmann Racing, +20.808s
17. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +21.308s
18. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +45.769s
28 February 2020 - Kaylen Frederick returns to BRDC British F3 with Carlin
27 February 2020 - Josh Skelton graduates to BRDC British F3 in 2020 with Chris Dittmann Racing
26 February 2020 - Piers Prior pairs with Lanan Racing for 2020 BRDC British F3 campaign
24 February 2020 - Carlin confirms British F3 trio Novalak, Ahmed and Das for FIA F3 2020
17 February 2020 - Ulysse De Pauw returns to complete Douglas Motorsport line-up