Frenchman Esteban Ocon continued his impressive start to his European Formula 3 Series career by taking pole position for race 1 at the Pau street circuit in France. The Prema Powerteam driver came through a tough test that saw him trading the quickest time with Van Amersfoort Racing driver Max Verstappen before ultimately taking the spoils. Verstappen will start third due to the Pau qualifying session being divided into two sections, with Lucas Auer, who was fastest in the first of the two sessions, starting from second position on the grid for Mücke Motorsport.
In the first session, it was Auer who set the pace, setting a lap time of 1:10.429s to finish ahead of Prema Powerteam’s Nicholas Latifi and Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Tom Blomqvist. Felix Serralles of Team West-Tec F3 caused a red flag with ninety seconds remaining on the clock by crashing into a tyre wall.
In the second session, Ocon set a best lap time of 1:10.082s to pip Verstappen by the smallest of margins, 0.024s to be precise. Jake Dennis was third fastest in the session for Carlin, ahead of Dennis van de Laar (Prema) and Ed Jones (Carlin). Jones was one of the two drivers to crash and cause the red flags to fly in the second session, the other being Roy Nissany of Mücke Motorsport, who had his second crash of the weekend.
As Ocon was fastest than Auer, all the drivers from the second group will start from odd numbered positions, with the first group all taken even starting spots.
Pau Race 1 Qualifying Times (Group A)
|1||Lucas Auer||AUT||Mücke Motorsport||1:10.429|
|2||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Prema Powerteam||1:10.559|
|3||Tom Blomqvist||GBR||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:10.634|
|5||Felix Serralles||PUE||Team West-Tec F3||1:10.769|
|6||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:10.840|
|7||Richard Goddard||AUS||ThreeBond with T-Sport||1:10.930|
|9||Mitchell Gilbert||AUS||Fortec Motorsport||1:11.035|
|10||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Powerteam||1:11.097|
|11||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Mücke Motorsport||1:11.137|
|12||Jules Szymkowiak||NED||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:11.571|
Pau Race 1 Qualifying Times (Group B)
|1||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Prema Powerteam||1:10.072|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:10.096|
|4||Dennis van de Laar||NED||Prema Powerteam||1:10.664|
|6||Sean Galael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:11.078|
|7||John Bryant-Meisner||SWE||Fortec Motorsport||1:11.519|
|8||Gustavo Menezes||BRZ||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:11.577|
|9||Felipe Guimaraes||BRZ||Double R Racing||1:11.583|
|10||Alexander Toril||ESP||ThreeBond with T-Sport||1:11.654|
|11||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Jo Zeller Racing||1:11.826|
|13||Hector Hurst||GBR||Team West-Tec F3||1:12.693|
|14||Roy Nissany||ISR||Mücke Motorsport||1:13.066|