Home Formula 3FIA F3 Championship Leclerc tops FIA F3 practice at the Red Bull Ring

Leclerc tops FIA F3 practice at the Red Bull Ring

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Arthur Leclerc topped FIA Formula 3 practice on a drying Red Bull Ring in a session where drivers started on grooved tyres but ended on slicks.

Night showers meant the asphalt was still wet when cars went out on track for practice.

Trident’s Roman Stanek set the first reference lap with a 1m30.183s. However, the track started to dry meaning his benchmark was soon lowered.

MP Motorsport’s Alexander Smolyar went top of the times over 15 minutes in. The Russian —back in the championship after not being allowed to compete at Silverstone— set a 1m28.597s, which was half a- econd faster than his nearest competitor at the time.

Leclerc was the first driver to fit slick tyres halfway through practice. The Prema driver went out for an installation lap and came back to the pitlane for another set of soft tyres before going out again.

Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan was then the first driver to improve on the slick tyres, bettering Smolyar’s fastest time by 1.7 seconds. However, O’Sullivan was quickly beaten by Jenzer Motorsport’s William Alatalo, who set a 1m24.497s lap.

The timing screen went fully green with less than 10 minutes to go as everyone was improving thanks to the drying track, which gave room for lots of changes in the order.

ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, who had moved up to first, had his best laptime deleted due to exceeding track limits at the last corner of the circuit. Leclerc took then the top spot, which he would retain until the end of practice after clocking a best lap of 1m20.171s. Smolyar and Trident’s Jonny Edgar completed the top three.

No major incidents happened during the 45-minute practice session in spite of track surface being slippery. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Reece Ushijima lost the control of his car under braking in the way up to turn three and spun, but rejoined quickly, and Smolyar stopped entirely at turn eight on his way back to the pits.

Practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Arthur Leclerc Prema 1m20.171s 22
2 Alexander Smolyar MP Motorsport 1m20.284s +0.110s 21
3 Jonny Edgar Trident 1m20.322s +0.148s 16
4 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m20.370s +0.196s 20
5 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix 1m20.389s +0.215s 21
6 Roman Stanek Trident 1m20.395s +0.221s 20
7 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m20.420s +0.246s 22
8 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 1m20.521s +0.347s 24
9 Franco Colapinto Van Amersfoort Racing 1m20.586s +0.412s 24
10 Kaylen Frederick Carlin 1m20.595s +0.421s 19
11 Caio Collet MP Motorsport 1m20.615s +0.441s 20
12 Zak O’Sullivan Carlin 1m20.651s +0.477s 24
13 Zane Maloney Trident 1m20.771s +0.597s 20
14 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing 1m20.818s +0.644s 22
15 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 1m20.835s +0.661s 22
16 Francesco Pizzi Charouz Racing System 1m20.912s +0.738s 23
17 Jak Crawford Prema 1m20.918s +0.744s 22
18 Juan Manuel Correa ART Grand Prix 1m20.941s +0.767s 21
19 Kush Maini MP Motorsport 1m20.942s +0.768s 21
20 Enzo Trulli Carlin 1m20.957s +0.783s 24
21 Ido Cohen Jenzer Motorsport 1m21.051s +0.877s 25
22 William Alatalo Jenzer Motorsport 1m21.162s +0.988s 25
23 Brad Benavides Carlin 1m21.276s +1.102s 23
24 Hunter Yeany Campos Racing 1m21.408s +1.234s 22
25 Zdenek Chovanec Charouz Racing System 1m21.441s +1.267s 23
26 David Vidales Campos Racing 1m21.464s +1.290s 22
27 Federico Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 1m21.768s +1.594s 24
28 Laszlo Toth Charouz Racing System 1m21.976s +1.802s 23
29 Nazim Azman Hitech GP 1m22.019s +1.845s 19
30 Reece Ushijima Van Amersfoort Racing 1m29.589s +9.415s 17