Gabriele Mini has taken pole position on his Formula 3 debut in Bahrain, with the new Alpine junior to head an all-rookie front row for the first feature race of the season.
Last year’s Formula Regional Europe runner-up has been rapid since stepping up to F3 in testing at the end of last year and the Hitech GP driver was frequently at the top of the times during the session.
Most did just one flying lap at the start of the session before pitting, with Gabriel Bortoleto quickest ahead of Mini before he became one of many drivers to have a laptime deleted for exceeding track limits.
Caio Collet was fastest for Van Amersfoort Racing heading into the final 10 minutes before Hitech’s trio of rookies took advantage of a clear track, Mini returning to top spot ahead of Sebastian Montoya with Luke Browning in fourth.
Mini found a further improvement on his final attempt with just over three minutes to go, and his time of 1m47.055s would not be beaten as he returned to the pits.
Another FRegional graduate to confirm some very impressive pace so far in F3 machinery, Bortoleto would get within 0.057s right at the finish for Trident.
His team-mate Oliver Goethe was another late improver in his third F3 qualifying session to take fourth behind ART’s returning Gregoire Saucy, with Trident’s third rookie Leonardo Fornaroli popping up in seventh at the flag.
Formula 4 graduate Hugh Barter was an impressive fifth for Campos, demoting another ART veteran Kaylen Frederick to sixth.
The Prema trio propped up the top 10. Zak O’Sullivan was up on Mini’s pole time going into the final sector but crossed the line only fourth, then found his time beaten by rookie team-mates Dino Beganovic and Paul Aron. After the session, O’Sullivan’s time was deleted, leaving him 18th.
Beganovic was one of four drivers without a proper time to their name prior to the final laps after track limits abuse.
Pepe Marti had a fastest time mid-session but ran wide at Turn 4 and ended up 11th for Campos, separating off-season team-swappers Collet and Franco Colapinto, last year’s pole-sitter securing reversed-grid pole for the sprint race, while Spanish F4 champion Nikola Tsolov would have to settle for 16th. Taylor Barnard’s final lap also got him into the mid-pack but that wouldn’t stand either, meaning he will need permission to start the races from the back of the grid.
|1||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||1m47.055s||11|
|3||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||1m47.166s||+0.111s||10|
|5||Hugh Barter||Campos Racing||1m47.274s||+0.219s||12|
|6||Kaylen Frederick||ART GP||1m47.283s||+0.228s||11|
|11||Pepe Marti||Campos Racing||1m47.391s||+0.336s||12|
|12||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||1m47.398s||+0.343s||12|
|13||Christian Mansell||Campos Racing||1m47.451s||+0.396s||12|
|14||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||1m47.476s||+0.421s||12|
|15||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport||1m47.535s||+0.480s||12|
|16||Nikola Tsolov||ART GP||1m47.593s||+0.538s||10|
|17||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||1m47.694s||+0.639s||12|
|19||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||1m47.885s||+0.830s||12|
|22||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer Motorsport||1m48.203s||+1.148s||12|
|23||Piotr Wisnicki||PHM by Charouz||1m48.515s||+1.460s||11|
|24||Sophia Floersch||PHM by Charouz||1m48.659s||+1.579s||11|
|28||Alex Garcia||Jenzer Motorsport||1m49.184s||+2.129s||11|
|29||Roberto Faria||PHM by Charouz||1m49.465s||+2.410s||11|
|30||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer Motorsport||2m01.193s||+14.138s||11|