DeFrancesco sets the standard on Day 1 of pre-season tests

Devlin DeFrancesco
Devlin DeFrancesco

Amongst a plethora of new faces in FIA Formula 3, it was the returning partnership of Devlin DeFrancesco and Trident who finished as top dogs on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The Canadian is one of just five drivers to return to their 2019 seats for the new season and edged out two of the others for first, with Alexander Peroni and Richard Verschoor finishing narrowly behind.

The drivers made their long-awaited return to the track in cool, early morning sunshine and most of the grid opted to head out early doors. Lining up with Dutch compatriot’s MP Motorsport, Bent Viscaal will be pleased with his new partnership, having become the first driver of 2020 to sit in first, with an initial time of 2:22.673.

The first true time of the morning was set by Enzo Fittipaldi though. The Brazilian had previously tested with both PREMA and Charouz, but seemed instantly at home in the HWA RACELAB machine, chopping the fastest lap down to 1:48.469. His teammate, Jake Hughes, was forced to miss the first day of testing due to prior commitments. The Briton will make his return in the afternoon session of Day 2.

Viscaal returned to the top on the 90-minute mark, narrowly beating out Dutch teammate Richard Verschoor by taking the time under 1m 48s. Alexander Smolyar briefly topped the times before Hitech Grand Prix switched on the style and sent Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson out for fast laps. The duo obliged by going one-two in the standings.

A productive morning for MP Motorsport was capped off by Viscaal once more, as the Dutchman returned to first place ahead of lunch with a time of 1:47.146, propped up by teammate Verschoor.

Trident started out the afternoon session on the front foot, as one of their new recruits, Lirim Zendeli, set the early pace as the cars returned to track. Enjoying her first full testing stint in F3, Sophia Flörsch showed the grid what she could do by beating out her fellow German to take P1.

In a similar fashion to the morning session, Hitech flicked the switch and turned things up a notch, with Lawson and Fewtrell going first and second with their first quick laps of the afternoon, taking the times to below 1m 48s.

From there, DeFrancesco and Igor Fraga both took turns at the top. Alex Peroni briefly dived in front of the duo, before the Canadian snatched back the position. Their jostling for first was fleetingly interrupted by a red flag for Théo Pourchaire, who had stopped on track.

With just three minutes remaining, only a few of the drivers dove out for one final tour, which left DeFrancesco sitting pretty in first place at the end of the session. The Canadian was followed by Peroni, Verschoor, Sebastián Fernández and Pourchaire, who completed the top five. Joining them in the top ten were Viscaal, Smolyar, Zendeli, Fraga and Niko Kari.

Trident will be hoping DeFrancesco continues in the same rich vein of form when the cars return for the second of three days tomorrow, at 9am.

AM Session

POS DRIVER TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Bent Viscaal MP Motorsport 1:47.146 21
2 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1:47.499 22
3 Max Fewtrell Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.562 14
4 Liam Lawson Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.653 13
5 Frederik Vesti PREMA Racing 1:47.694 8
6 Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix 1:47.794 18
7 Niko Kari Charouz Racing System 1:47.814 18
8 Logan Sargeant PREMA Racing 1:47.859 16
9 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 1:47.873 21
10 Lirim Zendeli Trident 1:47.908 13
11 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1:48.043 18
12 Jack Doohan HWA RACELAB 1:48.100 24
13 Dennis Hauger Hitech Grand Prix 1:48.194 13
14 Alexander Peroni Campos Racing 1:48.231 12
15 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 1:48.248 18
16 Matteo Nannini Jenzer Motorsport 1:48.248 30
17 Olli Caldwell Trident 1:48.268 12
18 Oscar Piastri PREMA Racing 1:48.270 16
19 Federico Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 1:48.376 23
20 Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 1:48.469 24
21 Clement Novalak Carlin Buzz Racing 1:48.513 14
22 Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport 1:48.769 22
23 Enaam Ahmed Carlin Buzz Racing 1:48.772 15
24 Devlin DeFrancesco Trident 1:48.820 12
25 Igor Fraga Charouz Racing System 1:48.864 24
26 David Schumacher Charouz Racing System 1:49.003 16
27 Cameron Das Carlin Buzz Racing 1:49.121 14
28 Sophia Floersch Campos Racing 1:49.488 16
29 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 1:50.404 22

PM Session

POS DRIVER TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Devlin DeFrancesco Trident 1:46.844 26
2 Alexander Peroni Campos Racing 1:46.860 25
3 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1:46.919 26
4 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 1:47.036 26
5 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1:47.093 24
6 Bent Viscaal MP Motorsport 1:47.124 32
7 Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix 1:47.273 27
8 Lirim Zendeli Trident 1:47.473 31
9 Igor Fraga Charouz Racing System 1:47.498 23
10 Niko Kari Charouz Racing System 1:47.530 21
11 Federico Malvestiti Jenzer Motorsport 1:47.600 32
12 Liam Lawson Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.709 30
13 Sophia Floersch Campos Racing 1:47.899 26
14 Max Fewtrell Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.919 31
15 Clement Novalak Carlin Buzz Racing 1:47.954 27
16 Dennis Hauger Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.975 31
17 Enaam Ahmed Carlin Buzz Racing 1:48.004 24
18 Logan Sargeant PREMA Racing 1:48.015 22
19 Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 1:48.065 26
20 Jack Doohan HWA RACELAB 1:48.073 22
21 Olli Caldwell Trident 1:48.200 34
22 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 1:48.219 26
23 Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport 1:48.263 24
24 Cameron Das Carlin Buzz Racing 1:48.435 24
25 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 1:48.662 32
26 David Schumacher Charouz Racing System 1:48.769 25
27 Matteo Nannini Jenzer Motorsport 1:50.521 32

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