Spa 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 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, claimed his first pole in the series.  

ART Grand Prix’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 teammate 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 teammate 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’s Jake Hughes was frustrated to only qualify in 12th place after his teammate 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 F3 - Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 10 Germany Lirim Zendeli Italy Trident 2'05.393  
2 7 France Theo Pourchaire France ART Grand Prix 2'05.596 0.203
3 8 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar France ART Grand Prix 2'05.807 0.414
4 3 United States Logan Sargeant Italy Prema Powerteam 2'06.079 0.686
5 11 Germany David Beckmann Italy Trident 2'06.112 0.719
6 17 Netherlands Richard Verschoor Netherlands MP Motorsport 2'06.144 0.751
7 5 New Zealand Liam Lawson United Kingdom HitechGP 2'06.172 0.779
8 1 Australia Oscar Piastri Italy Prema Powerteam 2'06.206 0.813
9 2 Denmark Frederik Vesti Italy Prema Powerteam 2'06.315 0.922
10 29 Australia Alexander Peroni Spain Campos Racing 2'06.413 1.020
11 12 United Kingdom Olli Caldwell Italy Trident 2'06.444 1.051
12 15 United Kingdom Jake Hughes Germany HWA AG 2'06.468 1.075
13 16 Australia Jack Doohan Germany HWA AG 2'06.505 1.112
14 22 Italy Matteo Nannini Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 2'06.588 1.195
15 14 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi Germany HWA AG 2'06.758 1.365
16 9 Venezuela Sebastian Fernandez France ART Grand Prix 2'06.867 1.474
17 21 Italy Federico Malvestiti Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 2'06.999 1.606
18 24 Brazil Igor Fraga Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 2'07.245 1.852
19 19 Austria Lukas Dunner Netherlands MP Motorsport 2'07.504 2.111
20 31 Germany Andreas Estner Spain Campos Racing 2'07.510 2.117
21 20 Australia Calan Williams Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 2'07.530 2.137
22 27 Germany David Schumacher United Kingdom Carlin 2'07.698 2.305
23 26 United Kingdom Clement Novalak United Kingdom Carlin 2'07.972 2.579
24 23 Czech Republic Roman Staněk Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 2'08.358 2.965
25 28 United States Cameron Das United Kingdom Carlin 2'08.553 3.160
26 30 Italy Alessio Deledda Spain Campos Racing 2'08.767 3.374
27 4 Pierre-Louis Chovet United Kingdom HitechGP 2'08.981 3.588
28 18 Netherlands Bent Viscaal Netherlands MP Motorsport 2'20.969 15.576
29 6 Norway Dennis Hauger United Kingdom HitechGP    
30 25 Michael Belov Czech Republic Charouz Racing System    
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About this article

Series FIA F3
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Lirim Zendeli
Author Josh Suttill