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Red Bull Ring European F3: Lotus F1 junior Ocon wins four-way fight

Esteban Ocon, Prema, Red Bull Ring European F3 2014

Lotus F1 junior Esteban Ocon emerged on Formula 3 European Championship pole position for race one at the Red Bull Ring.

The session was arguably the most thrilling of the season, with the verdict changing three times on the last lap.

Championship leader Ocon and his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes were part of a four-way battle with main title rival Max Verstappen's Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen and Carlin's pair of Jagonya Ayam proteges, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Verstappen, who was languishing in the lower reaches of the top 10 with a few minutes remaining, looked to have taken pole on the penultimate lap, only for Blomqvist to depose him and then for Ocon to somehow find two tenths to snatch the top spot away.

In turn, Verstappen snuck in a final flier that knocked Blomqvist's Dallara-VW off the front row, but fell 0.150 seconds short of Ocon.

Giovinazzi was on pole with a few minutes remaining, only to hit traffic when on a faster lap and then return to the pits to sit out the final two or three laps, dropping him to fourth.

His fellow Italian Antonio Fuoco took fifth in his Prema car, with the Carlin machine of Racing Steps-backed Brit Jake Dennis joining him on the third row.

Gustavo Menezes wriggled his way to the top of five drivers covered by less than four hundredths of a second, the American Van Amersfoort driver pipping the Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercs of Lucas Auer and Felix Rosenqvist (who won all three races here last year) for seventh.

Ed Jones, who was second earlier in the session, managed to narrowly nab the final top-10 spot from Jordan King, the duo making it five Carlin drivers in the top 11.

Follow all three European Formula 3 races from Austria as they happen with AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live this weekend

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                        Time       Gap
 1.  Esteban Ocon        Prema Dallara-Merc              1m24.856s
 2.  Max Verstappen      Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       1m25.006s  +0.150s
 3.  Tom Blomqvist       Carlin Dallara-VW               1m25.045s  +0.189s
 4.  Antonio Giovinazzi  Carlin Dallara-VW               1m25.206s  +0.350s
 5.  Antonio Fuoco       Prema Dallara-Merc              1m25.353s  +0.497s
 6.  Jake Dennis         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m25.367s  +0.511s
 7.  Gustavo Menezes     Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       1m25.450s  +0.594s
 8.  Lucas Auer          Mucke Dallara-Merc              1m25.454s  +0.598s
 9.  Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Merc              1m25.473s  +0.617s
10.  Ed Jones            Carlin Dallara-VW               1m25.474s  +0.618s
11.  Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m25.489s  +0.633s
12.  Nicholas Latifi     Prema Dallara-Merc              1m25.555s  +0.699s
13.  Dennis van de Laar  Prema Dallara-Merc              1m25.769s  +0.913s
14.  Felix Serralles     West-Tec Dallara-Merc           1m25.876s  +1.020s
15.  Roy Nissany         Mucke Dallara-Merc              1m25.920s  +1.064s
16.  Sean Gelael         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m26.047s  +1.191s
17.  Santino Ferrucci    Eurointernational Dallara-Merc  1m26.133s  +1.277s
18.  Alexander Toril     T-Sport Dallara-NBE             1m26.151s  +1.295s
19.  Spike Goddard       T-Sport Dallara-NBE             1m26.265s  +1.409s
20.  Tatiana Calderon    Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc          1m26.340s  +1.484s
21.  Jules Szymkowiak    Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       1m26.372s  +1.516s
22.  Hector Hurst        West-Tec Dallara-Merc           1m26.544s  +1.688s
23.  Sandro Zeller       Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc          1m26.549s  +1.693s
24.  John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc             1m26.683s  +1.827s
25.  Michele Beretta     Eurointernational Dallara-Merc  1m26.839s  +1.983s
26.  Alfonso Celis Jr    Fortec Dallara-Merc             1m27.116s  +2.260s
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