Theo Pourchaire claimed FIA Formula 3 Championship pole at Monza in a qualifying session that ended chaotically.
Like last year, slipstreaming became essential in the closing stages of the session and most of the field bunched together to start their final flying lap.
Thankfully there was no need to red flag the session due to this behaviour, but many in the field were unhappy with their position in traffic and there are several post-session investigations into drivers who were guilty of running at a lower pace in an attempt to gain a tow.
Most notably, David Beckmann struggled to find a tow on his penultimate lap of the session. He believed a team-mate had been told to run ahead of him for the lap in order to give him the tow, but found himself at the front of the field with nobody ahead.
As the Trident drivers tried to organise themselves, ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire managed a flying lap to put himself at the top of the order.
Lirim Zendeli caught a tow on his final lap to briefly top the order for Trident, but moments later Pourchaire crossed the line to lower the benchmark again, setting a 1m37.301s.
His team-mate Alexander Smolyar came third in the provisional classification, ahead of Hitech GP’s Liam Lawson and Beckmann.
The session was red flagged with just under nine minutes left on the clock as Lawson was sent on track with the cooling fan still left on his car. The fan became detached while he was on his lap and was dropped on circuit.
Prema’s Frederick Vesti had been second when the red flag was brought out having jumped up behind Beckmann on his last lap, but fell backwards once the session resumed.
He ended the day sixth ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Matteo Nannini and HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes, who was unhappy with his position on track in the closing stages of the session.
Jenzer’s Calan Williams and Prema’s points leader Logan Sargeant completed the top 10, while Sargeant’s title rival and team-mate Oscar Piastri could only manage 12th.