Hitech GP’s Luke Browning was fastest by just 0.034 seconds in the first session of FIA Formula 3’s post-season test at Barcelona.
It was an odd start to the day’s action, as not a single laptime had been set a third of the way through the three-hour morning session.
Eventually Jenzer Motorsport sent out its drivers to put times on the board, and Charlie Wurz laid down a 1m29.374s benchmark. His team-mate Max Esterson improved on that by 0.068s, and once the Jenzer drivers returned to the pits a few more drivers headed out.
The next representative laptimes were set 68 minutes into the session, with Hitech’s Martinius Stenshorne setting a 1m29.718s to go third fastest. PHM Racing’s Taylor Barnard then went to the top with a 1m29.083s, but his time in first place was short-lived as team-mate Joshua Dufek went 0.07s faster.
Stenshorne was the first driver into the 1m28s, set 73 minutes in, and seconds later he was down in sixth place as the pace was lowered significantly.
Browning set a 1m27.903s to lead Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney by 0.151s, with MP Motorsport’s Hadrien David half a second back in third and with Dufek 0.815s off the pace in fourth. Barnard and Stenshorne were then the only other drivers within a second of the new benchmark.
On Browning’s next lap the pace was lowered again, to 1m27.577s, and Stenshorne rebounded with a 1m28.360s to rise back up to third place.
At the 80-minute mark the session was red flagged, with ART Grand Prix’s Nikola Tsolov now Browning’s closest rival but 0.432s slower than him, and with Maloney in third place. There were 12 drivers who were still without a laptime to their name.
After a 16-minute break action resumed, and it took another seven minutes for everyone to finally set a lap. Browning was shuffled down to fourth place as Trident’s Oliver Goethe set a 1m27.299s to lead Prema duo Gabriele Mini and Dino Beganovic by 0.079s and 0.176s respectively.
Beganovic later reduced Goethe’s advantage to 0.048s, while most drivers returned to the pits.
Going into the final hour it was Tsolov who was the driver to beat, having knocked 0.148s off Goethe’s bechmark. Soon red flags were waved again, before the session restarted with 42 minutes left on the clock.
Browning set what would end up being the morning’s fastest lap with 37 minutes to go, and neither he, Tsolov, Goethe, Begaovic, Mini or Maloney were able to improve thereon. They remained towards the top of the timesheet though.
Barnard went second fastest with 35 minutes remaining before yellow and later red flags appeared at turn 14.
After the later restart, Campos Racing’s Mari Boya got within 0.058s of Browning’s pace in third place and Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli went fifth fastest.
Carlin’s Callum Voisin was the only driver to take the chequered flag at session end.
Morning session results
|1||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||1m27.055s||33|
|2||Taylor Barnard||PHM Racing||1m27.089s||+0.034s||16|
|3||Mari Boya||Campos Racing||1m27.113s||+0.058s||13|
|4||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix||1m27.151s||+0.096s||23|
|9||Noel Leon||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m27.395s||+0.340s||19|
|10||Hadrien David||MP Motorsport||1m27.467s||+0.412s||23|
|12||Sebastian Montoya||Campos Racing||1m27.605s||+0.550s||14|
|13||Charlie Wurz||Jenzer Motorsport||1m27.614s||+0.559s||19|
|15||Martinius Stenshorne||Hitech GP||1m27.660s||+0.605s||28|
|16||Tim Tramnitz||MP Motorsport||1m27.710s||+0.655s||28|
|20||Max Esterson||Jenzer Motorsport||1m27.887s||+0.832s||19|
|21||Christian Mansell||ART Grand Prix||1m27.940s||+0.885s||12|
|22||Laurens van Hoepen||ART Grand Prix||1m27.941s||+0.886s||18|
|23||Matias Zagazeta||Jenzer Motorsport||1m27.956s||+0.901s||19|
|24||Sophia Floersch||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m28.164s||+1.109s||22|
|25||Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak||PHM Racing||1m28.196s||+1.141s||19|
|26||Emmo Fittipaldi||MP Motorsport||1m28.197s||+1.142s||23|
|28||Joshua Dufek||PHM Racing||1m28.718s||+1.663s||16|
|29||Cian Shields||Hitech GP||1m28.802s||+1.747s||27|
|30||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m28.826s||+1.771s||18|