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Mini tops rain-hit first F3 practice session in Monaco

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Gabriele Mini topped the Formula 3 championship’s debut practice session in Monaco in wet conditions.

The Alpine junior, who has raced in Monaco the past two years in Formula Regional, had a quiet session having spent time in the pits but vaulted up the order as conditions dried at the end.

Franco Colapinto was among the first drivers to change from wet tyres to slicks and went almost six seconds clear at the top of the times.

Nikola Tsolov, Christian Mansell, Mari Boya and Gregoire Saucy briefly took turns on top before Colapinto found another three seconds on his next attempt.

Mini however bettered that by 0.233 seconds, achieving a 1m26.686s.

With times improving rapidly at the end, Pepe Marti was fourth behind Saucy, and ahead of championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto.

The top 10 was completed by Sebastian Montoya, Caio Collet, Boya and Tommy Smith.

The approach into Casino Square through Massenet proved to be particularly tricky in the changing conditions.

Ido Cohen hit the barriers there early on, with Kaylen Frederick doing similar in the middle of the session just before Jonny Edgar spun there and came to a stop, triggering a red flag so his car could be recovered. Hunter Yeany also spun there after the restart but managed to continue.

On his Monaco debut and his first time in the colours of Williams, Luke Browning was spectacular as usual and frequently quickest while on wet tyres. But after changing to slicks he ran wide in the hairpin and hit the barriers, causing a virtual safety car while he got going.

Others to find the barriers included Hugh Barter in Mirabeau and Oliver Goethe in Sainte Devote.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP 1m26.686s
2 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +0.233s
3 Gregoire Saucy ART GP +0.635s
4 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +0.638s
5 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident +0.815s
6 Dino Beganovic Prema +0.822s
7 Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP +0.858s
8 Caio Collet Van Amersfoort Racing +1.007s
9 Mari Boya MP Motorsport +1.504s
10 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +1.585s
11 Paul Aron Prema +1.960s
12 Christian Mansell Campos Racing +2.107s
13 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport +2.329s
14 Luke Browning Hitech GP +2.433s
15 Kaylen Frederick ART GP +2.459s
16 Hugh Barter Campos Racing +2.547s
17 Ollie Gray Carlin +2.697s
18 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +2.965s
19 Sophia Floersch PHM by Charouz +3.080s
20 Nikola Tsolov ART GP +3.208s
21 Hunter Yeany Carlin +3.208s
22 Zak O’Sullivan Prema +3.398s
23 Ido Cohen Carlin +4.341s
24 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +4.880s
25 Piotr Wisnicki PHM by Charouz +5.016s
26 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport +8.582s
27 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport +10.906s
28 Oliver Goethe Trident +13.553s
29 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport +14.387s
30 Roberto Faria PHM by Charouz +21.043s