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Practice report
FIA F3 Bahrain

F3 Bahrain: Stanek tops practice ahead of Saucy and Leclerc

Roman Stanek topped FIA Formula 3 practice in Bahrain, leading from Gregoire Saucy and Arthur Leclerc.

Roman Staněk, Trident

The Trident driver, who joins the team from Hitech Grand Prix for his third season in the series, set a 1m48.012s to top the timesheets on Friday morning.

Rookies Saucy (ART Grand Prix) and Franco Colapinto, driving for series newcomer Van Amersfoort Racing, had been trading times at the top of the timesheet before Stanek took the top spot with 15 minutes remaining of the sole practice session.

It will be the first time the series has raced at Bahrain International Circuit, having undertaken its pre-season test here earlier this month.

Ferrari Drivers’ Academy member Leclerc, who had been sat in eighth, went second quickest with seven minutes remaining of the session on a 1m48.090s, before he was pushed into third by reigning Formula Regional European champion Saucy.

Leclerc’s Prema team-mates also finished in the top seven, with fellow FDA member Ollie Bearman and Red Bull junior Jak Crawford in sixth and seventh respectively.

PLUS: The British trio hunting for F3 title glory

The reigning drivers’ champions, who took the title in 2021 with Dennis Hauger, Prema will be hoping to clinch the teams’ championship this year after being narrowly beaten by Trident last season.

F3 has just one practice session ahead of today’s qualifying, with the new format seeing one reverse-grid sprint race on Saturday and a feature race on Sunday.

Alexander Smolyar went quickest 10 minutes into the session as the first representative laps were set, leading an MP Motorsport 1-2-3 with a 1m49.458s from Maini and Collet.

The Russian driver had previously said he would not compete in F3 or any international racing this season as sanctions were imposed on drivers from the country amid the war in Ukraine. But he appeared on the series’ entry list for this weekend as an Authorised Neutral Driver under the FIA flag.

Leclerc set the third-fastest time for Prema

Leclerc set the third-fastest time for Prema

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

As the times ramped up, Juan Manuel Correa topped the timesheets with a third of the session’s running complete, setting a 1m48.642s to go four-tenths clear of Colapinto as the first driver to break the 1m48s barrier.

The ART Grand Prix driver returned to racing last season having been forced to sit out 2020 after suffering horrific injuries in the 2019 FIA Formula 2 crash at Spa which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert.

Correa's team-mate Saucy was the second to head into the 1m48s, the Swiss slotting into P2 just 0.05s behind Correa.

PLUS: How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors

Saucy then traded spots with Colapinto, who briefly went quickest, before regaining the top spot with a 1m48.099s.

Prema's drivers were late out the garage, only emerging with 20 minutes of running remaining. Bearman and Crawford went fourth and fifth respectively on their first flying laps, with Leclerc slotting into P12, before managing to move up to P8 on his next attempt with a 1m48.681s.

Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar, who led the second and third days of the pre-season test, went seventh fastest for Hitech on his first flying lap, setting a 1m48.665s.

Just one second covered the top 15 with 15 minutes remaining, with Stanek going quickest with a 1m48.012s.

Much of the field headed into the pits for a brief break before heading out for the final 10 minutes of the session.

Newcomer Saucy stopped the clocks second-fastest for ART Grand Prix

Newcomer Saucy stopped the clocks second-fastest for ART Grand Prix

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

There was a brief yellow flag in sector 1 as Reece Ushijima came to a stop on track, but the GB3 graduate was able to get his Hitech car going again without causing much disruption to running.

Victor Martins, the highest placed returning driver from last season, only managed the 12th fastest time. The Alpine Academy driver joins ART from MP Motorsport this season.

Caio Collet, who also enters his second year in the series, put the most of laps any driver with 18, but ended up only 17th having been near the top of the times earlier in the session.

F3 Bahrain Practice times: 

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Czech Republic Roman Staněk Italy Trident 1'48.012  
2 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy France ART Grand Prix 1'48.036 0.024
3 Arthur Leclerc Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.090 0.078
4 Isack Hadjar United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.285 0.273
5 Argentina Franco Colapinto Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.402 0.390
6 Oliver Bearman Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.419 0.407
7 Jak Crawford Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.428 0.416
8 Rafael Villagómez Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.470 0.458
9 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.557 0.545
10 United States Juan Manuel Correa France ART Grand Prix 1'48.642 0.630
11 Zane Maloney Italy Trident 1'48.736 0.724
12 France Victor Martins France ART Grand Prix 1'48.782 0.770
13 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar Italy Trident 1'48.795 0.783
14 Spain David Vidales Spain Campos Racing 1'48.802 0.790
15 Reece Ushijima Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.802 0.790
16 United States Kaylen Frederick United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.869 0.857
17 Caio Collet Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.889 0.877
18 Finland Niko Kari Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.115 1.103
19 Malaysia Nazim Azman United Kingdom HitechGP 1'49.125 1.113
20 India Kush Maini Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'49.188 1.176
21 Pepe Martí Spain Campos Racing 1'49.205 1.193
22 Finland William Alatalo Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.270 1.258
23 László Tóth Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.445 1.433
24 Italy Francesco Pizzi Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.475 1.463
25 Hunter Yeany Spain Campos Racing 1'49.557 1.545
26 Zak O'Sullivan Carlin 1'49.570 1.558
27 Ido Cohen Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.641 1.629
28 Ayrton Simmons Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.708 1.696
29 Italy Enzo Trulli Carlin 1'49.724 1.712
30 Brad Benavides Carlin 1'50.193 2.181

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