Moscow European F3: Lotus F1 junior Ocon takes dominant pole
|By Marcus Simmons||Friday, July 11th 2014, 13:36 GMT|
Esteban Ocon took a crushing pole position for the first Formula 3 European Championship race at Moscow Raceway by six tenths of a second.
The championship-leading Lotus F1 Junior lapped the Russian track in 1m26.530s just after the midway point of the session.
Nobody else cracked the 1m27s barrier, and after a further lap in 1m26.6s the Frenchman returned his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes to the pitlane.
Ocon completed fewer laps than any other competitor so therefore likely has more life in his tyres for the races.
His pole position margin was the biggest in a dry-weather qualifying session since the F3 European Championship was revived in 2012.
Jordan King was a distant best of the rest, the Briton taking his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen to his first European F3 front-row slot for more than a year.
Tom Blomqvist, from the Jagonya Ayam side of the Carlin stable, took third on the grid, with the series' recent form man Max Verstappen - who has taken six wins in a row - in fourth place with his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-VW.
The third-row grid positions were taken by Lucas Auer (Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes) and Racing Steps-backed Carlin rookie Jake Dennis.
Ferrari protege Antonio Fuoco starts seventh in his Prema car, alongside Van Amersfoort's ever-improving Dutchman Jules Szymkowiak.
Nicholas Latifi (Prema) and Felix Serralles (West-Tec) round out the top 10, with Felix Rosenqvist surprisingly down in 11th.
The field is down to 20 cars this weekend, with British teams Fortec Motorsport, T-Sport and Double R Racing skipping the event along with Swiss privateer Sandro Zeller.
T-Sport elected to go testing at Pembrey instead, while Double R found more monocoque damage than expected to Felipe Guimaraes's car after a run of five successive non-finishes.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m26.530s 8 2. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m27.149s +0.619s 10 3. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m27.341s +0.811s 9 4. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m27.361s +0.831s 11 5. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m27.422s +0.892s 10 6. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m27.496s +0.966s 10 7. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m27.516s +0.986s 10 8. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m27.643s +1.113s 10 9. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m27.676s +1.146s 10 10. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m27.684s +1.154s 11 11. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m27.724s +1.194s 10 12. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m27.819s +1.289s 10 13. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m27.929s +1.399s 10 14. Roy Nissany Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m28.039s +1.509s 11 15. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m28.052s +1.522s 11 16. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 1m28.253s +1.723s 10 17. Santino Ferrucci EuroInternational Dallara-Merc 1m28.498s +1.968s 9 18. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m28.506s +1.976s 11 19. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m28.791s +2.261s 10 20. Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara-Merc 1m29.103s +2.573s 11