Nico Muller tops opening GP3 practice session at Monza

Nico Muller upstaged the GP3 championship contenders to top the first free practice session of the weekend at Monza

Nico Muller tops opening GP3 practice session at Monza

Five drivers have a mathematical shot at the title this weekend, although realistically the showdown is between ART team-mates Valtteri Bottas and James Calado.

But nobody could do anything about Muller (Jenzer) once the Swiss driver moved to the top with six minutes remaining in practice, and went quicker still with his next flying lap.

Title outsider Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Manor) was a factor throughout the 30 minutes, and he engaged in a scrap for second with points leader Bottas during the last five minutes.

In the end the ART driver could not respond to the Briton's pace, but more importantly for Bottas he was just ahead of Calado.

Bottas's session was not without incident though, as he took a hard hit over the kerbs at the first chicane which sent his car into the air. Rookie team-mate Richie Stanaway did the same a lap later, but at higher speed.

Behind the top two in the standings, Tech 1's Aaro Vainio put in an impressive penultimate lap to gatecrash the top five just ahead of MW Arden driver Lewis Williamson.

Of the other two drivers in mathematical title contention, Alexander Sims (Status) was 16th and Mucke's Nigel Melker, who is the closest challenger to the ART pairing at the top, was only 18th.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Muller Jenzer 1m43.961s 2. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor 1m44.127s + 0.166s 3. Valtteri Bottas ART 1m44.341s + 0.380s 4. James Calado ART 1m44.421s + 0.460s 5. Aaro Vainio Tech 1 1m44.424s + 0.463s 6. Lewis Williamson MW Arden 1m44.518s + 0.557s 7. Marlon Stockinger Atech CRS 1m44.568s + 0.607s 8. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1m44.634s + 0.673s 9. Tom Dillmann Addax 1m44.714s + 0.753s 10. Michael Christensen RSC Mucke 1m44.715s + 0.754s 11. Antonio Felix da Costa Status 1m44.742s + 0.781s 12. Simon Trummer MW Arden 1m44.778s + 0.817s 13. Richie Stanaway ART 1m44.930s + 0.969s 14. Gabby Chaves Addax 1m44.963s + 1.002s 15. Conor Daly Carlin 1m44.999s + 1.038s 16. Alexander Sims Status 1m45.020s + 1.059s 17. Rio Haryanto Manor 1m45.100s + 1.139s 18. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke 1m45.185s + 1.224s 19. Ivan Lukashevich Status 1m45.238s + 1.277s 20. Thomas Hylkema Tech 1 1m45.274s + 1.313s 21. Callum Macleod Carlin 1m45.275s + 1.314s 22. Maxim Zimin Jenzer 1m45.400s + 1.439s 23. Mattias Laine Manor 1m45.429s + 1.468s 24. Tamas Pal Kiss Tech 1 1m45.570s + 1.609s 25. Zoel Amberg Atech CRS 1m45.600s + 1.639s 26. Vittorio Ghirelli Addax 1m45.730s + 1.769s 27. Nick Yelloly Atech CRS 1m45.864s + 1.903s 28. Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin 1m46.126s + 2.165s 29. Daniel Mancinelli RSC Mucke 1m47.390s + 3.429s 30. Christophe Hurni Jenzer 1m47.398s + 3.437s 
shares
comments
Magnussen wins race three as Nasr secures 2011 title

Previous article

Magnussen wins race three as Nasr secures 2011 title

Next article

F3 Masters victor Felix Rosenqvist tops first practice at Silverstone

F3 Masters victor Felix Rosenqvist tops first practice at Silverstone
Load comments
From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back Plus

From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back

After a disastrous 2020 in FIA Formula 3 with Hitech, Dennis Hauger began to doubt himself - with the self-belief he had built through success in junior series evaporating. But after regrouping, he stormed to the F3 title in 2021. Here’s how he did it

FIA F3
Oct 6, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3 Plus

How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3

After a promising start to his single-seater racing career, life in the Formula 1 feeder series gave Jack Doohan a reality check. But, following a year of learning and toiling, the driver with one of the most famous surnames on the Formula 3 grid isn’t feeling the weight of expectation pushing down too hard on him any longer

FIA F3
Jun 30, 2021
The Monaco win that started another triple crown Plus

The Monaco win that started another triple crown

30 years ago, victory in the Monaco Grand Prix-supporting Formula 3 race – then a showpiece invitational event – began a young Jorg Muller’s pursuit of a unique set of street circuit wins that he’d later complete at Macau and Pau

FIA F3
May 21, 2021
How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives Plus

How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives

ART Grand Prix team-mates Frederik Vesti and Juan Manuel Correa's paths to the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship grid couldn’t have been further apart, but both are using the same focus for different goals

FIA F3
May 5, 2021
Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed Plus

Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed

Juan Manuel Correa has had a long road to recovery from that horrific day at Spa in 2019. ART's decision to give him his race return in FIA Formula 3 in 2021 is a victory in itself, but his determination will surely - in time - have him fighting for bigger things

FIA F3
Feb 2, 2021
Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested Plus

Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested

F3 rookie Oscar Piastri only just snatched the 2020 title with Prema Racing, but the setbacks he overcame to do so suggest that Renault's next Australian talent is one destined for the top

FIA F3
Jan 12, 2021