Roberto Merhi takes double pole position for British F3 races at Spa

Roberto Merhi claimed a pair of pole positions during a difficult British Formula 3 Championship qualifying session at Spa Francorchamps

Roberto Merhi takes double pole position for British F3 races at Spa

The track improved throughout a wet and foggy session and Merhi, who leads the FIA F3 International Trophy - of which the Spa event is a round - made the best of tough conditions to lead the way.

Early crashes for Fortec's Harry Tincknell and T-Sport's Menasheh Idafar turned the 30-minute session into a truncated 16-minute fight for pole.

After a brief stoppage to retrieve Idafar's car, Merhi topped the times for much of the remainder of the running in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes.

He eventually set a best time of 2m17.438s on his final flying lap to leave the rest of the field trailing by over a second.

His second best time of 2m19.228s was also good enough to give him the top starting spot for Friday afternoon's opening race.

Former British F3 champion Marko Asmer scored Double R Racing's best qualifying result of the season by going second fastest, ahead of Signature team-mates Marco Wittmann and Carlos Munoz.

Estonian ex-GP2 racer Asmer's second best time was only good enough for 18th place on the race one grid though, while Wittmann and Munoz will start fourth and fifth for race one on account of their second best efforts.

Fortec team-mates Will Buller and Lucas Foresti were in contention throughout the crucial second part of qualifying and rounded out the top six, making them the best-placed of the drivers registered for British F3 points. Their second best times were good enough to put them second and third on the grid for race one, with Foresti joining Merhi on the front row.

Raffaele Marciello (Prema), Pipo Derani (Double R), Laurens Vanthoor (Signature) and Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision) completed the top 10 overall, but second best times mean Lloyd will start a season's best sixth for race one, ahead of Carlin's Jack Harvey, T-Sport's Bart Hylkema and Carlin's Jazeman Jaafar.

Runaway British championship leader Felipe Nasr delivered his worst qualifying result of the season with the 20th fastest time overall for Carlin. He wound up 10.816s adrift of pole, while his second best effort was only good enough for 10th on the race one grid.

Practice pacesetter Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) fared little better, going 16th overall and winding up 17th on the race one grid.

Race one grid: Pos Driver Team Car 1. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 2. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc 3. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc 4. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 5. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW 6. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 7. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 8. Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW 9. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 10. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 11. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW 12. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW 13. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc 14. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc 15. Hannes van Asseldonk Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 16. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 17. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW 18. Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc 19. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc 20. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW 21. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW 22. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc 23. Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 24. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen 25. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW 26. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW 27. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW 28. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc Race three grid: Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 2m17.438s 2. Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc 2m18.502s + 1.064s 3. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 2m18.800s + 1.362s 4. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW 2m19.289s + 1.851s 5. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m19.692s + 2.254s 6. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m19.993s + 2.555s 7. Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 2m20.249s + 2.811s 8. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc 2m21.253s + 3.815s 9. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW 2m21.398s + 3.960s 10. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 2m22.582s + 5.144s 11. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW 2m22.741s + 5.303s 12. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 2m25.510s + 8.072s 13. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 2m26.398s + 8.960s 14. Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW 2m26.889s + 9.451s 15. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 2m27.133s + 9.695s 16. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW 2m27.315s + 9.877s 17. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW 2m27.347s + 9.909s 18. Hannes van Asseldonk Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 2m27.517s + 10.079s 19. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc 2m27.767s + 10.329s 20. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 2m28.254s + 10.816s 21. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW 2m28.942s + 11.504s 22. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc 2m29.496s + 12.058s 23. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m29.578s + 12.140s 24. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen 2m30.009s + 12.571s 25. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW 2m30.229s + 12.791s 26. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW 2m33.004s + 15.566s 27. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW 2m36.104s + 18.666s 28. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m38.252s + 20.814s Race one grid - Second-fastest qualifying times Race two grid - Race one results with top eight reversed Race three grid - Fastest qualifying times 
shares
comments
James Calado set the pace in Hungary as Luciano Bacheta survives scary crash

Previous article

James Calado set the pace in Hungary as Luciano Bacheta survives scary crash

Next article

Felipe Nasr confident of strong Spa F3 results, despite poor qualifying

Felipe Nasr confident of strong Spa F3 results, despite poor qualifying
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