Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden pole in rain-hit qualifying

Lirim Zendeli earned his maiden FIA Formula 3 pole position after topping a qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps that was effectively prematurely ended by a mid-session rain shower

Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden pole in rain-hit qualifying

The session was red-flagged after just eight minutes when FIA F3 debutant Michael Belov spun his Charouz Racing System machine backwards into the barriers at Pouhon.

Only nine of the 30 drivers had posted a representative lap time at that stage, with Trident's Zendeli the fastest of them on a 2m05.393s.

ART Grand Prix duo Theo Pourchaire and Alexander Smolyar completed the top three, with championship protagonists Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri without a proper lap time and well outside the top 15.

When the session resumed it was Prema's Sargeant who was able to get closest to the top three with the fourth quickest time of the session, albeit six-tenths slower than Zendeli's benchmark.

The top three remained unchallenged as the cars returned to the pits to prepare for their final runs but a rain shower left little chance of improvements despite the majority of drivers attempting to set a lap in the damp conditions.

This ensured 20-year-old Zendeli, who was denied a maiden FIA F3 win at Silverstone by less than two-tenths of a second, claimed his first pole in the series.

ART GP's Pourchaire and Smolyar complete the top three on the grid, ahead of championship leader Sargeant - his worst qualifying position since the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring.

Zendeli's team-mate David Beckmann qualified in fifth place ahead of 2019 Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) and Red Bull junior Liam Lawson.

Renault junior Oscar Piastri, who sits just one point behind his Prema team-mate Sargeant in the drivers' championship, was forced to settle for eighth place ahead of the third Prema-run entry of Frederik Vesti.

Campos Racing's Alexander Peroni rounded out the top 10 fastest drivers in the session.

HWA Racelab's Jake Hughes was frustrated to only qualify in 12th place after his team-mate Jack Doohan - who qualified 13th on the grid - had topped practice on Friday morning.

"Where the hell has my pace gone?" Hughes fumed on the radio after his opening run.

David Schumacher qualified in 22nd for this first weekend with Carlin following his switch from Charouz.

FIA F3 debutant Pierre-Louis Chovet endured a tricky maiden F3 qualifying session, recording the slowest representative lap time in 27th for Hitech Grand Prix.

Spa-Francorchamps F3 qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Lirim Zendeli Trident 2m05.393s
2 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 0.203s
3 Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix 0.414s
4 Logan Sargeant Prema Racing 0.686s
5 David Beckmann Trident 0.719s
6 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 0.751s
7 Liam Lawson Hitech GP 0.779s
8 Oscar Piastri Prema Racing 0.813s
9 Frederik Vesti Prema Racing 0.922s
10 Alex Peroni Campos Racing 1.020s
11 Olli Caldwell Trident 1.051s
12 Jake Hughes HWA 1.075s
13 Jack Doohan HWA 1.112s
14 Matteo Nannini Jenzer Motorsport 1.195s
15 Enzo Fittipaldi HWA 1.365s
16 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 1.474s
17 Federico Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 1.606s
18 Igor Fraga Charouz 1.852s
19 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 2.111s
20 Andreas Estner Campos Racing 2.117s
21 Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport 2.137s
22 David Schumacher Carlin 2.305s
23 Clement Novalak Carlin 2.579s
24 Roman Stanek Charouz 2.965s
25 Cameron Das Carlin 3.160s
26 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 3.374s
27 Pierre-Louis Chovet Hitech GP 3.588s
- Bent Viscaal MP Motorsport 15.576s
- Dennis Hauger Hitech GP -
- Michael Belov Charouz -

shares
comments
Rating the prospects of the 2020 F3 title contenders
Previous article

Rating the prospects of the 2020 F3 title contenders

Next article

Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden win as Sargeant loses points lead

Spa-Francorchamps F3: Zendeli takes maiden win as Sargeant loses points lead
What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series Plus

What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series

The announcement that FIA Formula 2 and 3 would race alongside the Australian Grand Prix from 2023 came as a surprise, not only to fans but to the series’ teams too. But with Formula 1’s boom in popularity bringing more fans to the championships, team principals are relishing the opportunity

FIA F2
Jun 28, 2022
Why the Formula 3 benchmark's 2022 season hinges on qualifying Plus

Why the Formula 3 benchmark's 2022 season hinges on qualifying

Prema Racing has long dominated FIA Formula 3, taking the teams’ title in two of the past three seasons. But its start to 2022 has been trickier than usual, and the answers lie in its qualifying performance

FIA F3
May 27, 2022
How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape Plus

How the ultra-tight F3 title fight is taking shape

With just five points separating the top five after two rounds, FIA Formula 3 looks set for another thrilling season in 2022. But who stands the best chance of pulling away from that pack, and who are the contenders bubbling under?

FIA F3
May 3, 2022
The F3 newcomer making good on his unusual career path Plus

The F3 newcomer making good on his unusual career path

Joining the FIA Formula 3 grid as a rookie with a team new to the series could prove daunting for most, but then there aren't many drivers who have the extensive experience Franco Colapinto brings from his time racing sportscars. The Argentinian explains how his LMP2 experience is already helping him in 2022

FIA F3
Mar 27, 2022
The British trio hunting for F3 title glory Plus

The British trio hunting for F3 title glory

The 2022 FIA Formula 3 season kicks off this weekend in Bahrain. British trio Zak O’Sullivan, Ollie Bearman and Jonny Edgar have all become proteges of Formula 1 teams, and are talents to watch this year

FIA F3
Mar 18, 2022
How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors Plus

How an outsider demolished a rank of F1 juniors

His career has been a slowburner but Gregoire Saucy trounced a collection of F1 juniors in Formula Regional by Alpine last year, and now he’s preparing to do it again in FIA F3. Here’s how the Swiss caught the world by surprise in 2021 and how he plans to do it all over again

Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021

With a veritable feast of feeder series talent in 2021, FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 produced some of its most exciting racing yet. Although Prema Racing drivers once again dominated the respective series, drivers from other teams also stole the limelight to mark themselves out as stars of the future, or validate their highly-regarded standing

FIA F2
Dec 22, 2021
How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021 Plus

How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021

Taking three of the four titles and producing two outstanding champions in the process, Prema Racing remained the team to beat in Formula 1's feeder series in 2021. Team boss Rene Rosin reveals the traits that helped Dennis Hauger and Oscar Piastri to come out on top in Formula 3 and Formula 2

FIA F2
Dec 20, 2021