Prema’s Mick Schumacher and Guanyu Zhou shared pole for Race 2 and Race 3 in the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Qualifying 2 was also delayed by nearly an hour during which it started to rain at the circuit. The track was declared wet, however, it was already good enough for the slick tyres to run. So, some of the drivers opted to start on older sets before switching on to the new.
The Prema team drivers were the ones to start on the older set before pitting to change. The pole changed hands multiple times as the track started to dry fully. HitechGP’s Alex Palou went to the top briefly before he was taken down by the Prema drivers.
Nearly all of the Prema drivers had their chance to grab pole, but it was Schumacher in the end to take it after a supreme first sector. The German’s 2m10.899s was a good 0.280s clear of Ralf Aron, who improved on his last flying lap to go second from 14th.
In fact, Schumacher led a Prema 1-2-3-4 with Guanyu Zhou (2m11.367s) in third and Marcus Armstrong (2m11.585s) in fourth. This is Schumacher’s maiden European F3 pole in his sophomore season.
Behind, HitechGP’s Enaam Ahmed (2m11.690s) was the first non-Prema car in fifth ahead of Motopark’s Juri Vips (2m11.760s), who led his teammate Fabio Scherer (2m11.762s). The last Prema of Robert Shwartzman (2m11.800s) was eighth.
The leading Carlin of Ferdinand Habsburg (2m11.869s) finished ninth, with Motopark’s Dan Ticktum (2m11.923s) rounding out the Top 10.
Carlin and HitechGP drivers did the whole session on one set of tyres, which is why Palou (2m11966s) ended up only 11th, while Race 1 pole-sitter Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala (2m12.005s) was 12th.
Position 11-24: Palou, Daruvala, Jonathan Aberdein, Ben Hingeley, Nikita Troitskiy, Sacha Fenestraz, Sebastien Fernandez, Artem Petrov, Sophia Foersch, Marino Sato, Keyvan Andres, Julian Hanses, Petru Florescu and Ameya Vaidyanathan.
Taking the second best lap time from the session, it was another Prema dominance with Zhou (2m11.658s) on pole for Race 3, leading teammates Armstrong (2m11.822s) and Shwartzman (2m11.967s).
Breaking the Prema fold was Carlin’s Daruvala in fourth ahead of the Motopark duo Aberdein and Vips – the latter completing a Top 10 triple in qualifying. After taking pole for Race 2, Schumacher was only seventh for his second effort.
The Red Bull junior completed a difficult showing in qualifying to be only eighth with Ahmed and Aron rounding out the Top 10 for Saturday’s race.
Position 11-24: Schere, Palou, Troitskiy, Habsburg, Fenestraz, Hingeley, Fernandez, Petrov, Sato, Floersch, Florescu, Andres, Vaidyanathan and Hanses.