Sochi GP3: Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon takes maiden pole

Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon clinched his maiden GP3 pole position on his final lap in qualifying at Sochi, as championship rival Luca Ghiotto suffered his worst session of the year

Sochi GP3: Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon takes maiden pole

The track was visibly damp for the start of qualifying but conditions were always improving as the majority of drivers decided to swap their wet tyres for the medium compound.

With times improving lap by lap, getting across the line as late as possible and traffic free was always going to be important.

ART Grand Prix driver Ocon ensured he was one of the last frontrunners to cross the line, doing so with a clear track ahead of him.

He was on provisional pole on his penultimate lap by less than a tenth of a second before Arden International's Kevin Ceccon pipped him on his final run.

Ocon however was on a flyer. He set the fastest time through the opening two sectors but locked up in a scrappy final sector.

Despite his minor mistakes he still did enough to record a 1m53.921s and secure pole by just 0.040 seconds from Jenzer Motorsport driver Matheo Tuscher, with Ceccon third.

Ocon's championship rival Ghiotto is further down the grid in seventh after his worst qualifying session of the year, behind Alex Palou, Jann Mardenborough and Matt Parry

The Trident driver was a constant threat throughout the session but fell by the wayside on his final flying lap as others improved.

Parry, though, picked up a three-place grid penalty for impeding Konstantin Tereschenko and drops to ninth on the grid.

Series newcomers Michele Beretta and Tereschenko both impressed in qualifying.

The pair ran towards the head of the field for the majority of the session, but fell late as others continued to improve.

They finished 12th and 15th respectively, with Tereshcenko edging out series frontrunner Marvin Kirchhofer.

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Sochi GP3: Esteban Ocon fastest in gloomy practice
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Sochi GP3: Ghiotto beats title rival Ocon in delayed first race

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