An extremely high-pressure FIA Formula 3 qualifying for the top seven in the championship, began with the three Jenzer motorsport cars making their way onto the track, as the whole grid sported the soft tyres for the first time this weekend.
Championship leader Victor Martins struggled in his first flying lap as he was forced to make his way through the bollards at turn one after misjudging his breaking point.
When the grid’s first flying laps had been set, it was Roman Stanek who topped the times with a 1:38.431, followed by Jonny Edgar in second.
Improvements were being made up and down the field, but Stanek would remain on top, bettering his first time by 0.324 seconds, as Jonny Edgar and Zane Maloney completed a Trident 1-2-3 with just under twenty minutes remaining in the session.
However, soon enough the session was red flagged, as Isack Hadjar experienced oversteer at turn 11 and was sent hurtling into the barriers, putting an end to his qualifying session.
A catastrophic moment for the Frenchman, as this crash means he will start both of the weekend races in seventeenth, leaving an absolutely colossal amount of work to do if he wants to secure the Formula 3 championship in his rookie season.
With around eight minutes left on the clock, the majority of the grid returned to the track.
On his first attempt at improvement after the red flag, Aleksandr Smolyar bombed around the track and leaped from twenty fourth all the way up to provisional pole, with a 1:37.559.
Despite non stop improvements across the grid, Smolyar’s time would not be beaten and he secured pole position for Sunday’s feature race, and an extra championship point.
Zane Maloney and Roman Stanek made up a Trident 2-3, as championship leader Victor Martins claimed fourth. Fellow championship contenders Arthur Leclerc and Oliver Bearman finished fifth and sixth respectively, while Jenzer’s William Alatalo took seventh, followed by the long shot title challenger Jak Crawford.
Caio Collet will start Saturday’s sprint race from pole position, as he is joined by Josep Maria Marti on the front row.
With six of the seven title contenders, all qualifying within the top eight, Formula 3 spectators are set for a historic finale to the season in Monza.
Isack Hadjar’s mistake and the positive performances from his championship rivals, leave him in an incredibly difficult situation heading into the weekend’s two races, however, if he was to pull off a miraculous championship win, it would certainly find a place in the Formula 3 history books.