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Practice report

F3 Sochi: Collet leads MP Motorsport 1-2 in practice

Caio Collet topped FIA Formula 3 practice in Sochi, leading teammate Victor Martins in an MP Motorsport 1-2. 

Caio Collet, MP Motorsport

The Alpine Academy junior set a 1m54.087s to top the timesheet in the early morning session in Russia, less than one-hundredth quicker than Martins. 

Frederik Vesti finished in third for ART Grand Prix with a 1m54.384s, with Hitech Grand Prix’s Ayumu Iwasa in fourth. 

Championship leader Dennis Hauger ended the session in eighth for Prema, with title rival Jack Doohan (Trident) in P12. Hauger looks set to clinch the title this weekend, holding a 43-point lead from the Australian. 

Doohan was first out on track, shortly followed by teammate Clement Novalak. 

Alexander Smolyar topped the times after 10 minutes with a 1m56.211s for ART, before teammate Juan Manuel Correa was first to break into the 1m55s, setting a 1m55.680s after 15 minutes. His time was quickly eclipsed by Novalak, who went two tenths quicker. 

Turn 13 proved troublesome on the harder compound tyres, with Pirelli having manufactured the teams’ choices for the Circuit of the Americas before the calendar change brought the season finale forward. 

Smolyar, Iwasa and Ayrton Simmons all suffered big lock-ups at the corner, running wide onto the run-off area. 

Heading into the final 20 minutes of the session, Collet set the benchmark with a 1m54.682s, with Novalak in second and Logan Sargeant, last year’s highest placed returning driver, in third for Charouz Racing System. 

With seven minutes to go, heavy traffic built up as drivers attempted to create space for further flying laps, giving a preview of what to expect in qualifying. 

Hauger and teammate Arthur Leclerc both had attempts scuppered in the final few minutes of the session, being forced to bail out of quick laps by congestion in the last sector. 

Doohan trundled to a halt at the end of the session, stopping on track after the chequered flag before he was pushed away by the marshals. 

Simmons, who made his debut replacing Hunter Yeany at Charouz and currently sits second in the GB3 Championship with one round to go, finished in P29 ahead of teammate Zdanek Chovanec. 

Results to follow

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