Stroll dominates opening Spa-Francorchamps qualifying

Lance Stroll - Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship / Thomas Suer

Lance Stroll dominated the opening qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps as the championship leader survived tricky track conditions on Thursday.

The Canadian was by far the best on track during the wet session, with the Prema Powerteam driver setting six lap times that would all have been enough to take pole position, with his best time of 2:31.409 ending 1.270 seconds clear of the field.

Maximilian Günther was the best of the rest, with the German making it a Prema 1-2 at the front of the field with a late flying lap, while Ben Barnicoat put in one of his best performances of the season so far to qualify third for Hitech GP.

Nick Cassidy, who set the pace in the earlier practice sessions at the Belgian track, was fourth for Prema Powerteam, while Harrison Newey was an excellent fifth for Van Amersfoort Racing, by far his best qualifying effort of his rookie season.

George Russell was sixth fastest for Hitech GP ahead of Mücke Motorsport’s David Beckmann, with the fourth Prema Powerteam entry of Ralf Aron eighth ahead of Carlin’s Ryan Tveter and Mücke Motorsport’s Mikkel Jensen.

Callum Ilott had a disappointing session for Van Amersfoort Racing, with the Briton, who sits third in the standings with two wins in 2016 so far, down in twentieth after only three fast laps due to being stuck in the pits while his team investigated an errant warning light.

For Ilott at least, he knows he will not start the opening race of the weekend from last, as his team-mate Pedro Piquet will take that honour after failing to set a time at all after a heavy crash in practice prevented him from running during qualifying.

Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Qualifying Times

11Lance StrollCANPrema Powerteam2:31.409
217Maximilian GuntherGERPrema Powerteam2:32.679
324Ben BarnicoatGBRHitech GP2:32.823
42Nick CassidyNZLPrema Powerteam2:32.910
520Harrison NeweyGBRVan Amersfoort Racing2:32.986
612George RussellGBRHitech GP2:33.055
78David BeckmannGERMucke Motorsport2:33.096
816Ralf AronESTPrema Powerteam2:33.375
93Ryan TveterUSACarlin2:33.847
107Mikkel JensenDENMucke Motorsport2:33.848
114Alessio LorandiITACarlin2:33.952
1210Niko KariFINMotopark2:33.954
1321Anthoine HubertFRAVan Amersfoort Racing2:34.006
1411Nikita MazepinRUSHitech GP2:34.025
1522Joel ErikssonSWEMotopark2:34.283
1623Guanyu ZhouCHNMotopark2:34.466
179Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMotopark2:34.531
1815Ukyo SasaharaJAPThreeBond with T-Sport2:34.937
1919Weiron TanMALCarlin2:35.370
206Callum IlottGBRVan Amersfoort Racing2:35.663
215Pedro PiquetBRZVan Amersfoort RacingNo Time