Home Formula 3FIA F3 Championship Mini leads Melbourne F3 practice marred by shocking late incident

Mini leads Melbourne F3 practice marred by shocking late incident

by Peter Allen

Photo: Prema

Gabriele Mini confidently set the pace in FIA Formula 3 practice in Melbourne, which ended with a shocking incident involving Nikola Tsolov and Alex Dunne.

Dino Beganovic set the early pace, three tenths of a second ahead of Prema team-mate Mini, who turned the tables on their next efforts to move exactly 0.300 seconds clear.

Arvid Lindblad, on his first time on the Albert Park circuit, made it a Prema 1-2-3 and could have been quicker had Cian Shields not spun in front of him at the final corner. The Hitech driver dropped a wheel onto the grass on entry and touched the barriers with his rear wing, triggering a red flag.

The session resumed with 23 minutes left on the clock and Dunne briefly interrupted the Prema dominance at the top of the times before Mini went fastest once more by 0.7s over Beganovic.

A couple of laps later, Beganovic got within 0.082s of Mini’s time, only for Mini to re-establish his seven-tenths margin.

Beganovic made a small improvement with 10 minutes left on the clock, enough to stay ahead of championship leader Luke Browning – who leapt from 30th to third after a quiet start to the session.

Leonardo Fornaroli made it an Italian one-two with six minutes to go, 0.345s away from Mini, who put in another fast effort just a tenth off his best.

However, the main talking point after the session will be what looked to be a moment of madness from Tsolov with three minutes remaining.

The Alpine junior was pushing hard exiting the fast turns 11 and 12 chicane when he encountered a slower Dunne who – seemingly unaware of the car behind – then began to weave to warm his tyres.

While Tsolov was able to slow to avoid running into the back of Dunne, he then pulled alongside and appeared to steer right towards the MP Motorsport car – sending it crashing into the concrete barrier lining the track. A red flag brought an early end to the session, with Dunne emerging seemingly unharmed from his damaged car and stewards set to investigate the incident.

Practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Gabriele Mini Prema 1m33.225s 17
2 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident 1m33.570s +0.345s 13
3 Dino Beganovic Prema 1m33.880s +0.655s 17
4 Arvid Lindblad Prema 1m33.884s +0.659s 17
5 Luke Browning Hitech GP 1m33.885s +0.660s 11
6 Sami Meguetounif Trident 1m33.892s +0.667s 15
7 Charlie Wurz Jenzer Motorsport 1m33.960s +0.735s 15
8 Christian Mansell ART Grand Prix 1m34.091s +0.866s 15
9 Noel Leon Van Amersfoort Racing 1m34.229s +1.004s 15
10 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix 1m34.294s +1.069s 14
11 Mari Boya Campos Racing 1m34.331s +1.106s 14
12 Oliver Goethe Campos Racing 1m34.334s +1.109s 15
13 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix 1m34.393s +1.168s 13
14 Nikita Bedrin PHM Racing 1m34.506s +1.281s 16
15 Joshua Dufek PHM Racing 1m34.508s +1.283s 16
16 Santiago Ramos Trident 1m34.669s +1.444s 14
17 Tim Tramnitz MP Motorsport 1m34.693s +1.468s 16
18 Sebastian Montoya Campos Racing 1m34.726s +1.501s 15
19 Alex Dunne MP Motorsport 1m34.783s +1.558s 15
20 Max Esterson Jenzer Motorsport 1m34.849s +1.624s 14
21 Kacper Sztuka MP Motorsport 1m34.966s +1.741s 15
22 Martinius Stenshorne Hitech GP 1m35.296s +2.071s 17
23 Sophia Floersch Van Amersfoort Racing 1m35.345s +2.120s 16
24 Callum Voisin Rodin Motorsport 1m35.545s +2.320s 15
25 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak PHM Racing 1m35.655s +2.430s 16
26 Piotr Wisnicki Rodin Motorsport 1m35.801s +2.576s 14
27 Joseph Loake Rodin Motorsport 1m36.240s +3.015s 14
28 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing 1m36.355s +3.130s 15
29 Matias Zagazeta PHM Racing 1m37.229s +4.004s 9
30 Cian Shields Hitech GP 1m37.697s +4.472s 6