Prema driver Logan Sargeant scored his third FIA Formula 3 pole position in a row at Barcelona to extend his championship lead.
Sargeant, who topped qualifying for both Silverstone rounds, eclipsed category veteran Jake Hughes by 0.111s to take the four bonus points on offer and give himself a five-point buffer over Prema team-mate Oscar Piastri at the head of the standings.
Renault junior Piastri topped the opening runs at the start of the 30-minute session by 0.022s ahead of Hitech rival Liam Lawson, with Sargeant going third fastest before the pace sharpened later in the qualifying session.
Several drivers took the opportunity to go for hot laps during the traditional mid-session lull while the track was quieter, with Lirim Zendeli (Trident) and Alex Peroni (Campos), who was second fastest in practice, both setting outright best times.
But Peroni's benchmark of 1m33.407s was beaten when the field headed out for their final runs first by David Beckmann (Trident) and Hughes, who went over two tenths of a second clear at the top with his time of 1m33.085s.
Moments later however Hughes would be demoted to second by Sargeant as the American recorded a 1m32.974s to seize the top spot which duly handed him pole position at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Lawson made a late improvement to go third, bumping erstwhile points leader Piastri down to fourth, while lead ART Grand Prix driver Sebastian Fernandez completed the top five.
Next up were Carlin's Clement Novalak, Beckmann and Theo Pourchaire (ART), while Peroni and Zendeli found themselves demoted to ninth and 10th respectively.
With Richard Verschoor in 11th place for MP Motorsport, Leo Pulcini, on his return to FIA F3 replacing Ben Barnicoat at Carlin this weekend, was a strong 12th fastest, with Matteo Nannini (Jenzer) 13th and Hungaroring polesitter Alexander Smolyar (ART) 14th, with Frederik Vesti qualifying in 15th place and the slowest of the Prema entries.
Barcelona F3 qualifying results
|1||Logan Sargeant||Prema Racing||1m32.974s|
|3||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||0.143s|
|4||Oscar Piastri||Prema Racing||0.197s|
|5||Sebastian Fernandez||ART Grand Prix||0.248s|
|8||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||0.412s|
|9||Alex Peroni||Campos Racing||0.433s|
|11||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||0.557s|
|13||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer Motorsport||0.628s|
|14||Alexander Smolyar||ART Grand Prix||0.708s|
|15||Frederik Vesti||Prema Racing||0.711s|
|20||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||0.918s|
|22||Max Fewtrell||Hitech GP||0.960s|
|23||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||0.963s|
|24||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||1.002s|
|25||Calan Williams||Jenzer Motorsport||1.030s|
|27||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer Motorsport||1.214s|
|29||Sophia Florsch||Campos Racing||1.543s|
|30||Alessio Deledda||Campos Racing||2.207s|