Pau Euro F3: Esteban Ocon beats Max Verstappen in epic pole fight

Esteban Ocon pipped Max Verstappen in an epic fight for pole position for the first Formula 3 European Championship race of the weekend at Pau

Pau Euro F3: Esteban Ocon beats Max Verstappen in epic pole fight

The two slugged it out in the even-numbered session, which was twice red-flagged due to accidents - the first when Roy Nissany hit the wall at Pont Oscar, the second when Ed Jones slammed heavily into the tyres at the Foch chicane, although he emerged from the car and walked away.

The session restarted for the final time with four minutes left on the clock, at which point Ocon's Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes held a 0.003s advantage over Verstappen's Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.

Ocon then improved his time further, but the acrobatic Verstappen came within 0.024s of equalling that on his final lap.

With the grid being formed by alternate times taken from the two groups, Verstappen will have to start third behind Lucas Auer, who topped the earlier odd-numbered session in his Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes.

Auer traded times early on with Tom Blomqvist, but the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen was beaten to second by Prema's Nicholas Latifi.

With Blomqvist's third and final 10-place grid penalty in the wake of his Hockenheim engine change still yet to be served, he will start down in 16th.

Jordan King (Carlin) and Felix Serralles completed the top five in the odds, although Serralles shunted his Team West-Tec Dallara-Mercedes on the exit of the Foch chicane, bringing out the red flags with just two minutes remaining.

That pretty much ruined the hopes of Felix Rosenqvist, who pitted with a misfire after just one lap, re-emerged with a few minutes remaining and was just building up to a proper lap when the session was red-flagged.

Rosenqvist ended up 11th in the group, one place behind Antonio Fuoco, who is playing catch-up after walling it early in free practice.

Behind Ocon and Verstappen, Jake Dennis did a good job in his Carlin machine to take third of the even numbers, ahead of Prema's Dennis van de Laar and Jones.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time 1. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Merc 1m10.072s Group B 2. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m10.429s Group A 3. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m10.096s Group B 4. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Merc 1m10.559s Group A 5. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m10.570s Group B 6. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m10.634s Group A* 7. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Merc 1m10.664s Group B 8. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m10.714s Group A 9. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 1m10.887s Group B 10. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Merc 1m10.769s Group A 11. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.078s Group B 12. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m10.840s Group A 13. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m11.519s Group B 14. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m10.930s Group A 15. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m11.577s Group B 16. Riccardo Agostini Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m10.960s Group A 17. Felipe Guimaraes Double R Dallara-Merc 1m11.583s Group B 18. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m11.035s Group A 19. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m11.654s Group B 20. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Merc 1m11.097s Group A 21. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m11.826s Group B 22. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m11.137s Group A 23. Michele Beretta Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 1m11.931s Group B 24. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m11.571s Group A 25. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara-Merc 1m12.693s Group B 26. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m13.066s Group A * Will take 10-place grid penalty 
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Series FIA F3
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