Williams protege Lance Stroll pips Nick Cassidy to Paul Ricard pole

Williams Formula 1 development driver Lance Stroll earned pole position for the opening round of the Formula 3 European Championship in a gripping qualifying session at Paul Ricard

Williams protege Lance Stroll pips Nick Cassidy to Paul Ricard pole

The session started on a damp track after incessant morning rain, but after most of the field had undertaken exploratory early laps on rain tyres they pitted for slick rubber and times tumbled.

It was obvious that track positioning would be key, and Canadian Stroll was last across the line before the chequered flag.

Nobody beat Stroll's time until Nick Cassidy, his team-mate in the Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes squad, moved in front on his final lap.

Running a few seconds behind Cassidy, Stroll then pipped the New Zealander by 0.081 seconds to grab pole.

"I guess it [the track positioning] is luck but I'll take it," said Stroll.

"I thought I couldn't improve because I was close to Maxi [Gunther, Prema team-mate], and I asked the team if I should slow down but they said I had to finish the lap.

"The conditions certainly added a bit of spice!"

Cassidy rued a mistake at the Mistral chicane on the final lap, which forced him to go down a gear lower than usual, but was happy to even make the session after the Prema mechanics fixed damage from a rear-end impact with the wall in morning free practice.

Motopark-run Red Bull junior Niko Kari was the star F3 rookie with third fastest, the 16-year-old Finn just edging out George Russell - the Hitech Grand Prix driver, who was fastest for much of the session, was confident he would have been on pole had he not had to pass a slower car on the final lap, and he also made a mistake.

Russell's team-mate Ben Barnicoat made a great impression on his F3 debut with fifth, especially as he was unlucky to be first across the line at the flag, with Mucke Motorsport's Mikkel Jensen taking sixth.

The second Red Bull/Motopark car of Sergio Sette Camara will start the opening round seventh, sharing row four with Gunther, who was the fastest of the four drivers who did not improve on the final lap.

Joel Eriksson made it three Motopark machines in the top nine, with Carlin's Alessio Lorandi - another not to improve on the final lap - completing the top 10.

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m24.218s
2 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 0.081s
3 Niko Kari Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 0.248s
4 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 0.271s
5 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 0.327s
6 Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 0.356s
7 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 0.375s
8 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 0.411s
9 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 0.463s
10 Alessio Lorandi Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 0.666s
11 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 0.720s
12 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 0.808s
13 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 0.849s
14 Raoul Hyman Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 0.895s
15 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 0.901s
16 Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 0.930s
17 Ryan Tveter Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 0.980s
18 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1.176s
19 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1.519s
20 Arjun Maini ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/Threebond 1.732s
21 Zhi Cong Li Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 3.880s


shares
comments
FIA plans to introduce 'F3 Light' to F1 ladder for 2017
Previous article

FIA plans to introduce 'F3 Light' to F1 ladder for 2017

Next article

Maximilian Gunther takes two European F3 poles at Paul Ricard

Maximilian Gunther takes two European F3 poles at Paul Ricard
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