|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
|1||2||F. Vesti||PREMA Racing||14||1:20.378||0.000s||0.000s|
|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|
|7||29||A. Peroni||Campos Racing||13||1:20.734||0.356||0.025|
|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|