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Qualifying report
FIA F3 Melbourne

F3 Australia: Bortoleto secures maiden pole in crash-strewn qualifying

Gabriel Bortoleto secured his maiden Formula 3 pole in Australia amid an interrupted qualifying session marred by crashes.

Gabriel Bortoleto, Trident

The Trident rookie, who won the Bahrain feature race, set a 1m33.025s during the final flurry of laps as several drivers crashed in the closing moments of the session.

Bortoleto took an early lead with a 1m34.064s, and despite being demoted by Franco Colapinto, reclaimed the top spot before the end of the session to lead by almost 0.2s.

Second-year ART driver Gregoire Saucy will line up second for Sunday’s feature race, his best-ever series qualifying, ahead of Bahrain polesitter Gabriele Mini (Hitech).

The session was red-flagged shortly after starting, with Pepe Marti crashing while attempting his first flying lap. The Campos Racing driver prompted the first stoppage having cut across the Turns 9 and 10 chicane, sweeping across the gravel and into the barriers.

After a six-minute break, action resumed despite the ominous grey clouds approaching Albert Park.

Bortoleto took an early lead, leading from Luke Browning (Hitech) and ART's Saucy.

Van Amersfoort Racing rookie Tommy Smith almost repeated Marti’s earlier crash at his home race, but escaped by keeping his foot flat, while Nikita Bedrin also had a wobble at Turn 12 in his Jenzer-run car.

As traffic built up, Caio Collet (VAR) moved up five places from 13th to eighth before Franco Colapinto topped the timesheet for MP Motorsport with a 1m33.588s ahead of Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan and Bortoleto, the top nine covered by one second.

Returning to the track with a new set of tyres, Bahrain polesitter Mini took fifth briefly before being demoted by Prema driver Paul Aron and Saucy.

Gabriel Bortoleto, Trident

Gabriel Bortoleto, Trident

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The red flags were waved again moments later after Kaylen Frederick had a huge hit out of the final corner, parking his ART-run car on the main straight.

With just four minutes remaining, the field dashed out for a last attempt at a flying lap, with much jostling for position around the street circuit.

Mini shot to the top of the timesheets before Saucy demoted him, with Bortoleto finally reclaiming the top spot.

Alpine Academy junior Mini then came to a stop on track, having parked up in the Turn 1 gravel, before another crash out of the final corner from Bedrin ended other drivers’ chances of snatching pole.

Trident driver Leonardo Fornaroli will line up fourth, with Prema pair O’Sullivan and Aron in fifth and sixth.

Colapinto starts seventh, with the third Prema of Dino Beganovic ahead of Browning in eighth and ninth.

Sebastian Montoya secured reverse-grid pole for Saturday’s sprint race for Hitech ahead of Trident's Oliver Goethe and Collet.

F3 Australia - Qualifying results

Cla Driver Team Time Gap Interval
1 Gabriel Bortoleto Italy Trident 1'33.025    
2 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy France ART Grand Prix 1'33.196 0.171 0.171
3 Gabriele Minì Hitech Pulse-Eight 1'33.307 0.282 0.111
4 Leonardo Fornaroli Italy Trident 1'33.370 0.345 0.063
5 United Kingdom Zak O'Sullivan Italy Prema Powerteam 1'33.373 0.348 0.003
6 Paul Aron Italy Prema Powerteam 1'33.408 0.383 0.035
7 Argentina Franco Colapinto Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'33.588 0.563 0.180
8 Dino Beganovic Italy Prema Powerteam 1'33.604 0.579 0.016
9 Luke Browning Hitech Pulse-Eight 1'33.765 0.740 0.161
10 Brazil Caio Collet Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 1'33.876 0.851 0.111
11 Oliver Goethe Italy Trident 1'34.017 0.992 0.141
12 Colombia Sebastian Montoya Hitech Pulse-Eight 1'34.094 1.069 0.077
13 Christian Mansell Spain Campos Racing 1'34.227 1.202 0.133
14 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'34.276 1.251 0.049
15 Nikola Tsolov France ART Grand Prix 1'34.290 1.265 0.014
16 Mari Boya Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'34.326 1.301 0.036
17 United States Kaylen Frederick France ART Grand Prix 1'34.364 1.339 0.038
18 Taylor Barnard Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'34.394 1.369 0.030
19 Mexico Rafael Villagomez Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 1'34.546 1.521 0.152
20 Nikita Bedrin Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'34.768 1.743 0.222
21 Oliver Gray Rodin Carlin 1'35.102 2.077 0.334
22 Hunter Yeany Rodin Carlin 1'35.132 2.107 0.030
23 Hugh Barter Spain Campos Racing 1'35.133 2.108 0.001
24 Israel Ido Cohen Rodin Carlin 1'35.359 2.334 0.226
25 Germany Sophia Flörsch PHM Racing by Charouz 1'35.519 2.494 0.160
26 Roberto Faria PHM Racing by Charouz 1'35.688 2.663 0.169
27 Piotr Wiśnicki PHM Racing by Charouz 1'36.019 2.994 0.331
28 Tommy Smith Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 1'36.314 3.289 0.295
29 Alex Garcia Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'36.596 3.571 0.282
30 Pepe Martí Spain Campos Racing 1'56.088 23.063 19.492

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