Moscow European F3: Lotus F1 junior Ocon takes dominant pole

Esteban Ocon took a crushing pole position for the first Formula 3 European Championship race at Moscow Raceway by six tenths of a second

Moscow European F3: Lotus F1 junior Ocon takes dominant pole

The championship-leading Lotus F1 Junior lapped the Russian track in 1m26.530s just after the midway point of the session.

Nobody else cracked the 1m27s barrier, and after a further lap in 1m26.6s the Frenchman returned his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes to the pitlane.

Ocon completed fewer laps than any other competitor so therefore likely has more life in his tyres for the races.

His pole position margin was the biggest in a dry-weather qualifying session since the F3 European Championship was revived in 2012.

Jordan King was a distant best of the rest, the Briton taking his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen to his first European F3 front-row slot for more than a year.

Tom Blomqvist, from the Jagonya Ayam side of the Carlin stable, took third on the grid, with the series' recent form man Max Verstappen - who has taken six wins in a row - in fourth place with his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-VW.

The third-row grid positions were taken by Lucas Auer (Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes) and Racing Steps-backed Carlin rookie Jake Dennis.

Ferrari protege Antonio Fuoco starts seventh in his Prema car, alongside Van Amersfoort's ever-improving Dutchman Jules Szymkowiak.

Nicholas Latifi (Prema) and Felix Serralles (West-Tec) round out the top 10, with Felix Rosenqvist surprisingly down in 11th.

The field is down to 20 cars this weekend, with British teams Fortec Motorsport, T-Sport and Double R Racing skipping the event along with Swiss privateer Sandro Zeller.

T-Sport elected to go testing at Pembrey instead, while Double R found more monocoque damage than expected to Felipe Guimaraes's car after a run of five successive non-finishes.

Pos Driver              Team/Car                        Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Esteban Ocon        Prema Dallara-Mercedes          1m26.530s           8
 2. Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m27.149s  +0.619s  10
 3. Tom Blomqvist       Carlin Dallara-VW               1m27.341s  +0.811s  9
 4. Max Verstappen      Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW        1m27.361s  +0.831s  11
 5. Lucas Auer          Mucke Dallara-Mercedes          1m27.422s  +0.892s  10
 6. Jake Dennis         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m27.496s  +0.966s  10
 7. Antonio Fuoco       Prema Dallara-Mercedes          1m27.516s  +0.986s  10
 8. Jules Szymkowiak    Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW        1m27.643s  +1.113s  10
 9. Nicholas Latifi     Prema Dallara-Mercedes          1m27.676s  +1.146s  10
10. Felix Serralles     West-Tec Dallara Mercedes       1m27.684s  +1.154s  11
11. Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Mercedes          1m27.724s  +1.194s  10
12. Dennis van de Laar  Prema Dallara-Mercedes          1m27.819s  +1.289s  10
13. Gustavo Menezes     Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW        1m27.929s  +1.399s  10
14. Roy Nissany         Prema Dallara-Mercedes          1m28.039s  +1.509s  11
15. Antonio Giovinazzi  Carlin Dallara-VW               1m28.052s  +1.522s  11
16. Tatiana Calderon    Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes      1m28.253s  +1.723s  10
17. Santino Ferrucci    EuroInternational Dallara-Merc  1m28.498s  +1.968s  9
18. Sean Gelael         Carlin Dallara-VW               1m28.506s  +1.976s  11
19. Hector Hurst        West-Tec Dallara Mercedes       1m28.791s  +2.261s  10
20. Michele Beretta     EuroInternational Dallara-Merc  1m29.103s  +2.573s  11
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