Monza F3: Pourchaire takes pole in farcical qualifying

Theo Pourchaire earned his maiden FIA Formula 3 pole position in a farcical qualifying session, which has left three teams under investigation for impeding.

Monza F3: Pourchaire takes pole in farcical qualifying
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The session mirrored last year’s FIA F3 qualifying session, which resulted in penalties for 17 drivers after the majority of the 30-car field jostled for track position and ended up ruining each others' flying laps.  

In similarly bizarre scenes this year, the drivers ran in a safety car restart-like formation on the entry to the Parabolica prior to the final qualifying runs to try and get in a position to receive a tow from the cars in front.  

It was 17-year-old Pourchaire who emerged from the chaos to post a 1m37.301s and take his first FIA F3 pole and the four bonus points that come with it.  

He was over four-tenths quicker than second-placed Lirim Zendeli, however Pourchaire’s ART Grand Prix team – along with Zendeli’s Trident and points-leading Prema – face a post-session investigation for impeding other drivers.    

Pourchaire’s teammate Alexander Smolyar completed the top three in the provisional qualifying results, which are expected to drastically change.   

Red Bull junior Liam Lawson’s ever-fading title hopes were dealt another critical blow when he left the pits with a cooling fan still attached to his Hitech GP-run machine.  

He posted the fourth-fastest time, but he faces an investigation for the incident that brought out the red flag with just under 10 minutes of the session remaining.  

Trident’s David Beckmann led the session after the first qualifying runs but dropped to fifth place, with Prema’s Frederik Vesti falling from second to sixth place. 

Vesti’s title-contending teammates Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri found themselves in the middle of the frenetic scenes and could only manage to post the 10th and 12th fastest time respectively.  

Matteo Nannini – nephew of 1989 Japanese Grand Prix winner Alessandro – earned his best qualifying result of the season in seventh place ahead of HWA’s Jake Hughes and his teammate Calan Williams. 

A frustrated Hughes was one of a number of drivers to set a fastest sector time before encountering the Ascari chicane, which was littered with almost a dozen slow-moving cars.  

Practice pacesetter David Schumacher set the 30th and slowest time for Carlin, over 2.1s adrift of Pourchaire’s benchmark.  

Monza F3 - Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 7 France Theo Pourchaire France ART Grand Prix 1'37.301  
2 10 Germany Lirim Zendeli Italy Trident 1'37.752 0.451
3 8 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar France ART Grand Prix 1'37.788 0.487
4 5 New Zealand Liam Lawson United Kingdom HitechGP 1'37.788 0.487
5 11 Germany David Beckmann Italy Trident 1'37.809 0.508
6 2 Denmark Frederik Vesti Italy Prema Powerteam 1'38.015 0.714
7 22 Italy Matteo Nannini Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'38.036 0.735
8 15 United Kingdom Jake Hughes Germany HWA AG 1'38.051 0.750
9 20 Australia Calan Williams Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'38.064 0.763
10 3 United States Logan Sargeant Italy Prema Powerteam 1'38.095 0.794
11 9 Venezuela Sebastian Fernandez France ART Grand Prix 1'38.142 0.841
12 1 Australia Oscar Piastri Italy Prema Powerteam 1'38.198 0.897
13 24 Brazil Igor Fraga Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'38.215 0.914
14 29 Australia Alexander Peroni Spain Campos Racing 1'38.237 0.936
15 12 United Kingdom Olli Caldwell Italy Trident 1'38.343 1.042
16 23 Czech Republic Roman Staněk Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'38.531 1.230
17 17 Netherlands Richard Verschoor Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'38.583 1.282
18 14 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi Germany HWA AG 1'38.684 1.383
19 16 Australia Jack Doohan Germany HWA AG 1'38.690 1.389
20 25 Michael Belov Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'38.723 1.422
21 18 Netherlands Bent Viscaal Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'38.800 1.499
22 6 Norway Dennis Hauger United Kingdom HitechGP 1'38.842 1.541
23 21 Italy Federico Malvestiti Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'38.865 1.564
24 26 United Kingdom Clement Novalak United Kingdom Carlin 1'38.897 1.596
25 31 Germany Sophia Flörsch Spain Campos Racing 1'39.022 1.721
26 28 United States Cameron Das United Kingdom Carlin 1'39.077 1.776
27 4 Pierre-Louis Chovet United Kingdom HitechGP 1'39.173 1.872
28 30 Italy Alessio Deledda Spain Campos Racing 1'39.448 2.147
29 19 Austria Lukas Dunner Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'39.479 2.178
30 27 Germany David Schumacher United Kingdom Carlin 1'39.494 2.193
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