PREMA Powerteam start the season where they left off – on top – thanks to Williams Development Driver Lance Stroll. The Canadian put in a time less than 8 hundredths faster than teammate Nick Cassidy to top the timings, the pair edging ahead of Red Bull Junior and F3 rookie Niko Kari, who moves up to the series following his championship victory in SMPF4 in his debut season last year.
On a drying track the action was slow to start with, as Ben Barnicoat led the session at the halfway point with a plus 1:30 time. George Russell and Harrison Newey diced for provisional pole, constantly alternating at the front. Russell was the first driver to break the 1:30 barrier, Newey soon falling behind the more experienced drivers as Stroll and Cassidy turned up the wick.
Kari was the highest placed debutant, closely followed by Hitech newcomer Ben Barnicoat in P5. With less than 2 minutes to go, times began to tumble rapidly, but Stroll held firm in his provisional pole position. Less than 2 seconds separate the field (with the exception of Zhi Cong Li for Carlin), and positions 1 to 17 are covered by less than a second.
Now the grid for race 1 tomorrow is settled, Qualifying 2 will decide the order for races 2 and 3, with the drivers’ best and second best times being taken into account to form each grid.
|Pos.||No.||Team||Driver||Best Lap||Gap to 1st||Gap|
|1||1||Prema Powerteam||Lance Stroll||1:24.209||–||–|
|2||2||Prema Powerteam||Nick Cassidy||1:24.285||0.076||0.076|
|6||7||kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport||Mikkel Jensen||1:24.554||0.345||0.007|
|7||9||Motopark||Sérgio Sette Câmara||1:24.590||0.381||0.036|
|8||17||Prema Powerteam||Maximilian Günther||1:24.628||0.419||0.038|
|11||16||Prema Powerteam||Ralf Aron||1:24.925||0.716||0.018|
|12||20||Van Amersfoort Racing||Harrison Newey||1:25.043||0.834||0.118|
|13||21||Van Amersfoort Racing||Anthoine Hubert||1:25.054||0.845||0.011|
|15||5||Van Amersfoort Racing||Pedro Piquet||1:25.130||0.921||0.006|
|18||6||Van Amersfoort Racing||Callum Ilott||1:25.381||1.172||0.175|
|20||15||ThreeBond with T-Sport||Arjun Maini||1:25.956||1.747||0.217|
|21||18||Carlin||Zhi Cong Li||1:28.083||3.874||2.127|
Bold indicates rookie