Pau European F3: Esteban Ocon beats Max Verstappen in free practice

Lotus Formula 1 Junior Esteban Ocon beat Max Verstappen to the honour of fastest time after 80 minutes of free practice for the Formula 3 European Championship round on the Pau street circuit

Pau European F3: Esteban Ocon beats Max Verstappen in free practice

Verstappen topped the first 40-minute session, but Frenchman Ocon turned the tables in the second - which followed immediately afterwards - to beat the Dutchman by 0.171 seconds in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes.

"In the beginning I left a bit of margin," said Ocon, who is one of 19 drivers from the 26-strong field never to have raced at Pau.

"On the last lap of the first session I touched the wall a bit and bent something, but the team fixed it and I was able to push a bit more, getting closer to the limit step by step."

Verstappen was spectacular, but never touched the wall in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.

"I was paying attention a bit at first but every lap I was building confidence," he said.

Felix Rosenqvist was top of the drivers with Pau experience, heading a Mucke Motorsport three-four from team-mate Lucas Auer.

Jake Dennis, who raced here last year in Formula Renault, looked confident from the start and was quickest of the six Carlin drivers, heading team-mates Tom Blomqvist, Ed Jones and Jordan King in the order.

Riccardo Agostini (EuroInternational) and Mitch Gilbert (Fortec) completed the top 10.

As expected there were casualties. Silverstone winner Antonio Fuoco missed the vast majority of running after hitting the wall at Pont Oscar early in the first session, while fellow Italian Michele Beretta caused the only red flag, halfway through the second period, also at Pont Oscar.

Roy Nissany sat out the second session with damage sustained right at the end of the first period when he hit the barriers at Virage de la Gare.

Due to the short nature of the circuit, qualifying will be run in two groups.

While the odd-numbered session looks more competitive overall (with nine of the top 13 from free practice), Ocon and Verstappen are the two leading even-numbered runners, meaning that whatever happens they will not share the front row.

Practice one results: Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m11.298s 27 2. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.423s +0.125s 25 3. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.587s +0.289s 22 4. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.663s +0.365s 24 5. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.904s +0.606s 21 6. Mitch Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.077s +0.779s 30 7. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m12.097s +0.799s 28 8. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m12.234s +0.936s 27 9. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.250s +0.952s 25 10. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.288s +0.990s 24 11. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m12.321s +1.023s 24 12. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 1m12.338s +1.040s 26 13. Riccardo Agostini EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.499s +1.201s 22 14. Felipe Guimares Double R Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.631s +1.333s 26 15. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m12.672s +1.374s 27 16. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m12.889s +1.591s 27 17. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.903s +1.605s 25 18. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m12.983s +1.685s 25 19. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m13.009s +1.711s 27 20. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m13.045s +1.747s 26 21. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m13.048s +1.750s 22 22. Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m13.166s +1.868s 26 23. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m13.271s +1.973s 23 24. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m13.568s +2.270s 10 25. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m13.833s +2.535s 23 26. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 1m13.937s +2.639s 23 Practice two results: Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m10.688s 19 2. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m10.859s +0.171s 15 3. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m10.950s +0.262s 14 4. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.083s +0.395s 15 5. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.292s +0.604s 15 6. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.385s +0.697s 11 7. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.434s +0.746s 14 8. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.454s +0.766s 18 9. Riccardo Agostini EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.461s +0.773s 12 10. Mitch Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.494s +0.806s 10 11. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m11.612s +0.924s 15 12. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m11.713s +1.025s 15 13. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.728s +1.040s 15 14. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m11.729s +1.041s 16 15. Felipe Guimares Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m11.874s +1.186s 16 16. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m12.002s +1.314s 11 17. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m12.053s +1.365s 15 18. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m12.113s +1.425s 12 19. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.128s +1.440s 13 20. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 1m12.448s +1.760s 13 21. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW 1m12.506s +1.818s 16 22. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m12.539s +1.851s 13 23. Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m13.500s +2.812s 6 24. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara Mercedes 1m13.673s +2.985s 14 
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