Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman secured pole position for Prema ahead of the first race of the new-look FIA Formula 3, narrowly edging Formula Renault Eurocup graduate Christian Lundgaard.
Shwartzman’s main opposition for pole position appeared to be his Prema team-mate Jehan Daruvala, with both drivers among a number having made the switch from the now defunct European Formula 3 series.
Heading into the final run of the session, Shwartzman commanded a 0.386s advantage over Daruvala.
Despite sitting 13th with nine minutes of the session remaining, ART Grand Prix’s Lundgaard joined the battle for pole in the closing stages. Having been blocked at the chicane earlier in the session, he improved by 1.5s on his second run to grab provisional pole.
Recording a session-best sector one time, Shwartzman rallied on his final lap of the session to snatch top spot back from Lundgaard, securing pole position with a 1m31.975s.
Lundgaard ended up second, with the top two over 0.3s clear of the rest, and denied a Prema lock-out of the top three.
Daruvala was pipped to third place by his team-mate and Ferrari-backed Marcus Armstrong, who improved with his final lap of the session.
Eurocup graduate Logan Sargeant led the Carlin assault, qualifying in fifth place ahead of MP Motorsport’s Simo Laaksonen, who failed to improve on his final run after threatening the Premas earlier in the session.
Along with his team-mate Lundgaard, David Beckmann was the second ART driver to have his first run of the session compromised by traffic. The GP3 race-winner qualified in seventh after propelling into the top 10 in the dying moments of qualifying.
Last year’s Eurocup champion and Renault junior Max Fewtrell qualified behind his ART team-mate Beckmann in eighth.
Despite topping the timesheet in testing and beating the dominant ART quartet to pole position at Barcelona in GP3 12 months ago, Leonardo Pulcini struggled to 18th for Hitech GP. His team-mate and European F3 graduate Juri Vips was 11th.
Practice pacesetter Pedro Piquet ended up 13th for Trident, while the top 15 were covered by less than one second.
The 30-minutes session was interrupted early on when Alessio Deledda’s Campos stopped on track at Turn 1 within the first five minutes. No representative times were set prior to the stoppage.
|2||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix||+0.108s|
|6||Simo Laaksonen||MP Motorsport||+0.780s|
|7||David Beckmann||ART Grand Prix||+0.854s|
|8||Max Fewtrell||ART Grand Prix||+0.882s|
|9||Alex Peroni||Campos Racing||+0.888s|
|10||Yuki Tsunoda||Jenzer Motorsport||+0.900s|
|11||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||+0.901s|
|14||Lirim Zendeli||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+0.959s|
|15||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+0.974s|
|16||Bent Viscaal||HWA Racelab||+1.035s|
|17||Fabio Scherer||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+1.047s|
|18||Leonardo Pulcini||Hitech GP||+1.128s|
|19||Liam Lawson||MP Motorsport||+1.175s|
|21||Keyvan Andres||HWA Racelab||+1.455s|
|22||Yifei Ye||Hitech GP||+1.500s|
|23||Sebastian Fernandez||Campos Racing||+1.533s|
|25||Raoul Hyman||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+1.589s|
|26||Artem Petrov||Jenzer Motorsport||+1.739s|
|27||Andreas Estner||Jenzer Motorsport||+1.987s|
|29||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+2.198s|
|30||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing||no time|