Sacha Fenestraz took his first pole position since the opening round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship season at Pau when he set the fastest time in Qualifying at Silverstone on Friday, with the Frenchman coming out on top of a very close battle at the front of the field.
Less than two-tenths of a second separated Fenestraz and seventh placed Alex Palou, while eighteen of the twenty-four drivers racing this weekend were within one second of the pole time of 1:50.571.
Fenestraz and his Carlin team-mates Jehan Daruvala, Nikita Troitskiy, Ferdinand Habsburg and Ameya Vaidyanathan were the only ones to hit the track straightaway when the green flag dropped, but it was when everyone else made their move that the action really heated up.
Fenestraz ultimately took top spot ahead of Prema Theodore Racing’s Guan Yu Zhou, but a number of drivers, including championship rivals Daniel Ticktum and Marcus Armstrong took turns at the head of the field, only to fall back as times tumbled.
Ticktum, who had topped both Free Practice sessions earlier in the day, managed to qualify third for his Motopark outfit with a time of 1:50.683, identical to the thousandth of a second to that set by team-mate Jonathan Aberdein, with the South African being forced to settle for fourth as a result of Ticktum setting the time first.
Championship leader Armstrong was fifth fastest, just 0.012 seconds further back for Prema Theodore Racing, with team-mate Mick Schumacher sixth ahead of Hitech Bullfrog GP duo of Palou and Enaam Ahmed.
Daruvala, like Ticktum and Schumacher a winner last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, was ninth for Carlin, with Motopark’s Jüri Vips rounding out the top ten ahead of team-mate Fabio Scherer and Prema’s Robert Shwartzman.
Championship contender Ralf Aron continued to struggle, with the fifth Prema driver unable to qualify higher than seventeenth, while debutant Charles Leong managed twenty-third for Hitech Bullfrog GP, either side of Sophia Flörsch of Van Amersfoort Racing and Petru Florescu of Fortec Motorsports.
Qualifying for races two and three will take place later in the day, with Fenestraz set to lead the field to the grid for the opening race of the weekend on Saturday morning.
Silverstone Race 1 Qualifying Result
|2||1||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Theodore Racing||1:50.611|
|5||8||Marcus Armstrong||NZL||Prema Theodore Racing||1:50.695|
|6||4||Mick Schumacher||DEU||Prema Theodore Racing||1:50.744|
|7||39||Alex Palou||ESP||Hitech Bullfrog GP||1:50.748|
|8||65||Enaam Ahmed||GBR||Hitech Bullfrog GP||1:50.868|
|12||10||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||Prema Theodore Racing||1:51.074|
|14||77||Ben Hingeley||GBR||Hitech Bullfrog GP||1:51.269|
|17||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Prema Theodore Racing||1:51.435|
|19||15||Keyvan Andres||DEU||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:51.926|
|21||12||Artem Petrov||RUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:52.208|
|22||25||Sophia Florsch||DEU||Van Amersfoort Racing||1:52.327|
|23||66||Charles Leong||MAC||Hitech Bullfrog GP||1:52.416|
|24||5||Petru Florescu||ROM||Fortec Motorsports||1:52.493|