Home Featured Roman Stanek fastest in practice for FIA F3 season opener in Bahrain

Roman Stanek fastest in practice for FIA F3 season opener in Bahrain

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Roman Stanek topped the times in free practice as the FIA Formula 3 cars took to the track for the first round of the season in Bahrain.

Making his debut with Trident, Czech driver Stanek was immediately on the pace and set the fastest lap of the session, a 1m48.012s, on his sixth lap.

Rookie Gregoire Saucy, driving for ART Grand Prix, ran consistently at the front throughout the session, his fastest time of the morning just 0.024s slower than Stanek’s best.

Arthur Leclerc was the best of the Prema squad in third place, ahead of the pre-season pacesetter Isack Hadjar of Hitech GP, although his time was over one second down on his best time from testing.

Track action was limited in the early stages with MP Motorsport duo Caio Collet and Alexander Smolyar trading best times in the first 15 minutes. Both dropped down the order as the times started to fall, although Smolyar – competing as an Authorised Neutral Driver – held on to ninth place at the chequered flag.

With 30 minutes remaining Saucy, team-mate Juan Manuel Correa and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Franco Colapinto moved to the front of the field. Colapinto was pushing to the limit on VAR’s debut in FIA F3, including a wild moment at Turn 1 towards the end of the session.

His team-mate Rafael Villagomez was an impressive eighth as the team made a strong start, although Reece Ushijima brought out a brief yellow flag when he stopped at the side of the track before rejoining.

Last year’s leading teams Trident and Prema were among the last of the runners to take to the circuit.

Trident’s remaining drivers Zane Maloney and Jonny Edgar were over 0.7s off Stanek’s pace and finished in 11th and 13th positions respectively.

Ollie Bearman and Jak Crawford were both in the top seven on their first outings with Prema.

ART GP’s third driver and one of the championship favourites, Victor Martins, did not feature at the front at any stage and could only set the 12th best time.

The Carlin trio seemed to struggle, as all three drivers finished the session in the bottom five positions.

Practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Roman Stanek Trident 1m48.012s 12
2 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix 1m48.099s +0.024s 14
3 Arthur Leclerc Prema 1m48.090s +0.078s 13
4 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m48.285s +0.273s 13
5 Franco Colapinto Van Amersfoort Racing 1m48.402s +0.390s 16
6 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m48.419s +0.407s 12
7 Jak Crawford Prema 1m48.428s +0.416s 12
8 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing 1m48.470s +0.458s 16
9 Alexander Smolyar MP Motorsport 1m48.557s +0.545s 17
10 Juan Manuel Correa ART Grand Prix 1m48.642s +0.630s 14
11 Zane Maloney Trident 1m48.736s +0.724s 12
12 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 1m48.782s +0.770s 14
13 Jonny Edgar Trident 1m48.795s +0.783s 12
14 David Vidales Campos Racing 1m48.802s +0.790s 12
15 Reece Ushijima Van Amersfoort Racing 1m48.802s +0.790s 14
16 Kaylen Frederick Hitech GP 1m48.869s +0.857s 14
17 Caio Collet MP Motorsport 1m48.889s +0.877s 18
18 Niko Kari Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.115s +1.103s 14
19 Nazim Azman Hitech GP 1m49.125s +1.113s 15
20 Kush Maini MP Motorsport 1m49.188s +1.176s 15
21 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 1m49.205s +1.193s 13
22 William Alatalo Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.270s +1.258s 13
23 Laszlo Toth Charouz Racing System 1m49.445s +1.433s 13
24 Francesco Pizzi Charouz Racing System 1m49.475s +1.463s 13
25 Hunter Yeany Campos Racing 1m49.557s +1.545s 14
26 Zak O’Sullivan Carlin 1m49.570s +1.558s 17
27 Ido Cohen Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.641s +1.629s 16
28 Ayrton Simmons Charouz Racing System 1m49.708s +1.696s 12
29 Enzo Trulli Carlin 1m49.724s +1.712s 15
30 Brad Benavides Carlin 1m50.193s +2.181s 17