Euro F3 Hockenheim: Gunther denies Ilott triple pole for finale

Maximilian Gunther denied Callum Ilott a triple pole position for the Formula 3 European Championship finale at Hockenheim to keep his almost-invisible title hopes alive

Euro F3 Hockenheim: Gunther denies Ilott triple pole for finale

Ilott set the quickest overall time in the second qualifying session, a comfortable 0.271 seconds clear of Gunther, but on second-best times - which determine the grid for race three - it was Gunther in front by a mere 0.013s.

Championship leader Lando Norris languished down in seventh position, but he is almost certain to be crowned in Saturday's opening race.

Ilott's superb pole time for race two came due to maximising everything during a very narrow period of running where the tyres were at their optimum, the rubber from the preceding DTM free practice session meaning the peak performance of the Hankooks narrowed considerably.

That explained the drop-off to his second-best time, and the sister Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes of Gunther stole a march for race-three pole, which was only 0.005s adrift of his overall best.

"The tyres came on a lot earlier than before, because of the track conditions," explained Ilott.

"It was a good lap, but the tyres were good at that stage - after I'd had a lap behind traffic [passing debutant Felipe Drugovich] the tyres never came back."

Gunther put his dismal opening session, in which he was 12th, down to "nothing huge, it's always about the details.

"It's great to bounce back like this - now I have good confidence in the car."

His Prema team completed a 1-2-3 with Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou, the Chinese taking third on the grid for both races.

Hitech GP's Jake Hughes - who lost fifth on the grid in the opening session due to having his best lap taken away for exceeding track limits - put in a last-lap effort to bump Pedro Piquet from the second row.

That also meant that Hughes will start fourth for both races, but the second-best time of Piquet, who has shown a welcome improvement in form this weekend with Van Amersfoort Racing, is good only for ninth for race three.

Joel Eriksson planted his Motopark car in sixth place for race two and fifth for race three, and on each grid he is one place ahead of Norris.

The whole Carlin team struggled, with Norris the only one of its drivers in the top 10.

"We tried something we had a feeling would've been better," he said, "but it was quite a bit colder and this time we followed the DTM instead of the Porsches.

"I think we struggled with overall grip - if it was just me struggling I'd say fair play, but considering we all did we must have got something not quite right."

Hitech trio Tadasuke Makino, Nikita Mazepin and Ralf Aron completed the top 10, and are seventh, eighth and 10th respectively for race three.

Qualifying two result

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam 1m31.685s
2 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam 0.271s
3 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam 0.282s
4 Jake Hughes Hitech GP 0.398s
5 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing 0.405s
6 Joel Eriksson Motopark 0.450s
7 Lando Norris Carlin 0.478s
8 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP 0.518s
9 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 0.530s
10 Ralf Aron Hitech GP 0.561s
11 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 0.614s
12 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing 0.650s
13 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin 0.770s
14 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam 0.784s
15 David Beckmann Motopark 0.828s
16 Keyvan Andres Motopark 1.047s
17 Juri Vips Motopark 1.089s
18 Felipe Drugovich Van Amersfoort Racing 1.119s
19 Marino Sato Motopark 1.169s
20 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing 1.214s
21 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin 1.243s

Qualifying three result

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam 1m31.961s
2 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam 0.013s
3 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam 0.151s
4 Jake Hughes Hitech GP 0.172s
5 Joel Eriksson Motopark 0.182s
6 Lando Norris Carlin 0.233s
7 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP 0.347s
8 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 0.368s
9 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing 0.392s
10 Ralf Aron Hitech GP 0.415s
11 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing 0.454s
12 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam 0.536s
13 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 0.545s
14 David Beckmann Motopark 0.568s
15 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin 0.699s
16 Keyvan Andres Motopark 0.846s
17 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing 0.942s
18 Marino Sato Motopark 0.996s
19 Felipe Drugovich Van Amersfoort Racing 1.017s
20 Juri Vips Motopark 1.026s
21 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin 1.053s

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Hockenheim European Formula 3: Ilott snatches pole from Norris
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