European F3 Pau: Williams F1's Lance Stroll takes pole position

Williams protege Lance Stroll put in a magnificent performance in the wet to take pole position for the first race of the Formula 3 European Championship round in Pau

European F3 Pau: Williams F1's Lance Stroll takes pole position

The Canadian, running in the second group with sessions split on the tight circuit, was top of the times virtually throughout his session in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes.

Conditions were slightly better for this group than for the first batch, which was topped by George Russell after an internecine fight with the sister Hitech Grand Prix Dallara-Mercedes of Ben Barnicoat.

Russell could not take pole anyway for this race as he is carrying a three-place grid penalty for his clash with Maximilian Gunther while battling for the lead last time out at the Hungaroring.

But Stroll went out and quickly dipped under Russell's first-session topper, finishing three tenths ahead of the Englishman and setting five laps quicker than anyone else's best.

"I can't take all the credit," said Stroll. "The team did a really good job.

"The car was already good in free practice but in qualifying it was really phenomenal, and I did two solid laps that got me P1."

Russell's penalty drops him to fifth and means that Stroll's team-mate Nick Cassidy, who was second in Stroll's group after a late comeback from grip problems early on, moves up onto the front row.

Barnicoat takes third on the grid, while top rookie Anthoine Hubert - who has won races at Pau in Formula 4 and Formula Renault ALPS - should have taken his best F3 grid position to date with fourth in his Van Amersfoort Racing machine.

But the last remaining 10-place grid penalty for his Hungaroring engine change will instead relegate Hubert to 15th.

Fourth on the grid will therefore be Gunther, who lost some time in free practice to suspension repairs after touching the barriers, and then had to drive with his visor up in qualifying due to visibility problems.

VAR driver Callum Ilott headed both free practice sessions, but his qualifying was frustrated on the second lap when he squirted the power out of a corner late in the lap, and hit a gap in the pavement that snapped the pushrod.

Ilott returned to the track and was potentially on to challenge Stroll, only to be frustrated by getting stuck behind Guan Yu Zhou, who in turn was fighting to improve his laptime, so Ilott will start sixth.

Red Bull junior Sergio Sette Camara headed the Motopark attack and will line up seventh.

Next up should be Red Bull/Motopark stablemate Niko Kari, but he is consigned to a pitlane start due to his post-race Hungaroring transgression, so eighth will instead be top Carlin driver Ryan Tveter.

Ninth on the grid is a boost for T-Sport's Arjun Maini, while the top 10 is rounded out by Alessio Lorandi (Carlin), who shunted heavily at the end of first free practice, in which he was second fastest.

RACE ONE GRID

Pos Driver Team Car Time
1 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m21.832s
2 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.311s
3 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.198s
4 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.472s
5 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.422s
6 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.154s
7 Arjun Maini ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 1m22.562s
8 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m22.597s
9 Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.613s
10 Ryan Tveter Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m22.641s
11 Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m23.010s
12 Alessio Lorandi Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m22.676s
13 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m22.397s
14 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m23.366s
15 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m23.317s
16 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m23.560s
17 David Beckmann kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 1m23.437s
18 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m23.578s
19 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m23.825s
20 Zhi Cong Li Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m24.633s
21 Niko Kari Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m22.503s

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