Spa European F3: Williams F1 protege Stroll takes commanding pole

Formula 3 European Championship leader Lance Stroll was utterly supreme in wet conditions at Spa as he set pole position for the first race of the weekend by 1.270 seconds

Spa European F3: Williams F1 protege Stroll takes commanding pole

The Williams Formula 1 team protege set his quickest lap early on and his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes remained comfortably ahead of the opposition throughout, with six of Stroll's seven flying laps quicker than the best anyone else could manage.

"I think maybe the level of rain was a bit less at the start of the session, but I was within two tenths for a few laps afterwards too," he said.

"There were definitely differing amounts of rain but I was able to be somewhat consistent, and I was very confident with the car.

"I'm really happy with pole by such a good margin, especially after what happened at Zandvoort [when Stroll was excluded from a double pole]."

Wet-weather specialist Ben Barnicoat was another to get his best time in early, and the Hitech Grand Prix rookie spent most of the session second fastest.

But a last-lap improvement from Prema's Maximilian Gunther elevated the German onto the front row, despite a mid-session trip over the sleeping-policemen kerbs at Eau Rouge that appeared to rip a chunk off his diffuser.

Gunther suggested that this made his balance less-than-ideal in the middle sector, and indeed he lost half a second to Barnicoat in that section of the track.

Nick Cassidy, who topped the wet free practice in the morning, joins Barnicoat on the second row and made it three Prema cars in the top four.

Fifth position represented the best performance of his F3 career by Harrison Newey, who led the Van Amersfoort Racing charge and is joined on the third row by Hitech's George Russell.

David Beckmann continued his strong recent form with seventh for Mucke Motorsport, ahead of the Prema car of Ralf Aron.

The top 10 was completed by the lead Carlin machine of Ryan Tveter and Mucke's Mikkel Jensen, the Dane leaping up the order on the final lap after losing much of free practice due to a crash at Les Combes.

Apart from Newey, it was a grim session for the Van Amersfoort team.

Callum Ilott spent the first half in the pits after a warning light came on in the cockpit.

There were no mechanical problems thereafter but he completed only three flying laps before the chequered flag and languished at the foot of the times in 20th.

At least he will start ahead of team-mate Pedro Piquet, who crashed heavily in free practice.

The team ran out of time for its substantial repair job, but the Brazilian is expected to rejoin the fray in second qualifying later on Thursday afternoon.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m31.409s -
2 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m32.679s 1.270s
3 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m32.823s 1.414s
4 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m32.910s 1.501s
5 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m32.986s 1.577s
6 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m33.055s 1.646s
7 David Beckmann kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 2m33.096s 1.687s
8 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m33.375s 1.966s
9 Ryan Tveter Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m33.847s 2.438s
10 Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 2m33.848s 2.439s
11 Alessio Lorandi Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m33.952s 2.543s
12 Niko Kari Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m33.954s 2.545s
13 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m34.006s 2.597s
14 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m34.025s 2.616s
15 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m34.283s 2.874s
16 Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m34.466s 3.057s
17 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m34.531s 3.122s
18 Ukyo Sasahara ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/Threebond 2m34.937s 3.528s
19 Weiron Tan Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m35.370s 3.961s
20 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m35.663s 4.254s


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