Vesti surges to first F3 pole in Spielberg

Frederik Vesti on pole
Frederik Vesti on pole

Frederik Vesti turned on the style to take pole position for Race 1 on Saturday, as PREMA once again dominated around the Red Bull Ring, taking three of the top four spots in a stop-start Qualifying session. Only the Trident of David Beckmann could split the PREMAs, as the German took P2, ahead of Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri.

Fresh from taking P1 in the opening session of the day, Lirim Zendeli was chomping at the bit to get back out on track and was the first to set a flying lap. For all of his eagerness, he couldn’t quite find the same pace as in Free Practice, with Alex Peroni setting the initial benchmark.

With track temperatures hitting 55 degrees, it didn’t take the grid long to warm up their tires, or for Sebastian Fernandez to go fastest, with the Spaniard eyeing up his second pole position in a row. That was as good as it got for the ART Grand Prix driver though, who then lost control and ended up in the barriers. The crash ended his afternoon and brought out a red flag midway through the session.

Fernandez was swiftly knocked off top spot by the PREMA trio when running resumed, but the fastest of the three drivers, Vesti, saw his time deleted for exceeding track limits. This placed Sargeant in first ahead of Piastri.

The session was briefly brought to a stop for a second time with less than five minutes to go, as Igor Fraga pulled over onto the side of the road with mechanical issues, bringing out another red flag.

Fears that the session would be ended early were quickly culled as race control confirmed that the teams would be allowed to finish Qualifying. This would have pleased all bar Sargeant, who suffered mechanical issues of his own during the pause and was forced to watch the rest of the session from his engineer’s phone in the pitlane.

With such little time remaining, there were no guarantees that anyone would be able to topple the American, and this initially proved true on the first of two final push laps for the field. Vesti came the closest, improving thanks to a fastest final sector, but his tour was still only good enough for third.

Race 1 Qualifying Results

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time Behind Gap
1 2 F. Vesti PREMA Racing 14 1:20.378 0.000s 0.000s
2 11 D. Beckmann Trident 13 1:20.501 0.123 0.123
3 3 L. Sargeant PREMA Racing 11 1:20.570 0.192 0.069
4 1 O. Piastri PREMA Racing 14 1:20.590 0.212 0.020
5 7 T. Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 15 1:20.654 0.276 0.064
6 10 L. Zendeli Trident 14 1:20.709 0.331 0.055
7 29 A. Peroni Campos Racing 13 1:20.734 0.356 0.025
8 12 O. Caldwell Trident 13 1:20.767 0.389 0.033
9 9 S. Fernandez ART Grand Prix 7 1:20.816 0.438 0.049
10 5 L. Lawson HiTech Grand Prix 14 1:20.853 0.475 0.037
11 17 R. Verschoor MP Motorsport 14 1:20.871 0.493 0.018
12 8 A. Smolyar ART Grand Prix 14 1:20.935 0.557 0.064
13 4 M. Fewtrell HiTech Grand Prix 13 1:20.960 0.582 0.025
14 22 M. Nannini Jenzer Motorsport 15 1:21.026 0.648 0.066
15 19 L. Dunner MP Motorsport 13 1:21.115 0.737 0.089
16 15 J. Hughes HWA RACELAB 10 1:21.122 0.744 0.007
17 18 B. Viscaal MP Motorsport 14 1:21.156 0.778 0.034
18 23 R. Stanek Charouz Racing System 15 1:21.169 0.791 0.013
19 6 D. Hauger HiTech Grand Prix 15 1:21.224 0.846 0.055
20 31 S. Floersch Campos Racing 14 1:21.228 0.850 0.004
21 14 E. Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 13 1:21.269 0.891 0.041
22 25 D. Schumacher Charouz Racing System 14 1:21.292 0.914 0.023
23 16 J. Doohan HWA RACELAB 11 1:21.344 0.966 0.052
24 24 I. Fraga Charouz Racing System 11 1:21.415 1.037 0.071
25 26 C. Novalak Carlin Buzz Racing 16 1:21.436 1.058 0.021
26 20 C. Williams Jenzer Motorsport 13 1:21.527 1.149 0.091
27 27 E. Ahmed Carlin Buzz Racing 14 1:21.544 1.166 0.017
28 28 C. Das Carlin Buzz Racing 13 1:21.547 1.169 0.003
29 21 F. Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 14 1:21.606 1.228 0.059
30 30 A. Deledda Campos Racing 13 1:22.226 1.848 0.620

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