Lance Stroll continued where he left off in practice by taking pole position for race one at Imola on Friday, whereas main title rival Maximilian Günther once again struggled.
The Prema Powerteam driver will lead the pack away on Saturday after securing his tenth pole position of a season where he increasingly looks likely to take the title, with the Canadian able to clinch the crown should he leave Imola with a lead of at least 75 points.
Stroll will be joined on the front row by Motopark’s Sergio Sette Câmara, who ended up 0.119 seconds back but ahead of his team-mate and fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Niko Kari by 0.044 seconds. The trio all held top spot as they completed their final laps, with Kari taking top spot only to be then ousted by Sette Câmara and then ultimately Stroll.
Unfortunately for Sette Câmara, he’ll likely lose his front row spot as he is set to take a trio of ten-place grid penalties due to an engine change that will promote Kari to the front row.
George Russell was fourth fastest and will start on the second row for Hitech GP, with the Briton finishing 0.012 seconds ahead of fifth placed Anthoine Hubert in the leading of the Van Amersfoort Racing entries.
Nick Cassidy was sixth for Prema Powerteam ahead of Joel Eriksson of Motopark, with Callum Ilott eighth for Van Amersfoort Racing, while Mücke Motorsport’s David Beckmann and Motopark’s Guanyu Zhou complete the top ten. Beckmann had caused a red flag early in the session after stopping in sector two just after setting a personal best in the first sector, and dropped from third to ninth as he did not resume running when the session resumed.
Günther, Stroll’s main rival in the championship, continued his disappointing weekend. The Prema Powerteam driver completed only two laps across the two free practice sessions earlier in the day and could only qualify seventeenth, ahead only of the two ThreeBond with T-sport drivers Ukyo Sasahara and Wing Chung Chang.
Imola Race 1 Qualifying Result
|1||1||Lance Stroll||CAN||Prema Powerteam||1:36.001|
|2||9||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Motopark||1:36.120|
|4||12||George Russell||GBR||Hitech GP||1:36.250|
|5||21||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:36.262|
|6||2||Nick Cassidy||NZL||Prema Powerteam||1:36.507|
|8||6||Callum Ilott||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:36.551|
|9||8||David Beckmann||GER||Mucke Motorsport||1:36.627|
|11||16||Ralf Aron||EST||Prema Powerteam||1:36.642|
|12||20||Harrison Newey||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:36.755|
|13||5||Pedro Piquet||BRZ||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:36.790|
|14||11||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Hitech GP||1:36.826|
|15||7||Mikkel Jensen||DEN||Mucke Motorsport||1:36.891|
|16||24||Ben Barnicoat||GBR||Hitech GP||1:37.042|
|17||17||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Prema Powerteam||1:37.198|
|18||15||Ukyo Sasahara||JAP||ThreeBond with T-Sport||1:37.307|
|19||14||Wing Chung Chang||MAC||ThreeBond with T-Sport||1:39.199|