Formula Three began their season run-in with Practice and Qualifying at Spa Francorchamps as part of the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
With just two rounds left after this weekend as the 2020 F3 season concluded with another triple header, drivers faced a tough test around Spa Francorchamps with a mixed up Practice before Qualifying threw up further drama to set up an exciting Belgian Race One.
Trident trio of Lirim Zendeli, David Beckmann and Olli Caldwell were first out for installation laps but Campos’ Alex Peroni was first to set a lap time of a 2m 23.964 before quickly getting usurped by serval drivers, including Michael Belov who was making his F3 debut with Charouz after David Schumacher switched to Carlin.
Times soon began to tumble with several drivers running at different stages of session on mixture of carry over tyres and new tyres, as Prema’s Oscar Piastri found himself top come the halfway mark with a 2m 07.511 from Enzo Fittipaldi with Aleksandr Smolyar, Beckmann and Clement Novalak rounding out the top five with 22 minutes left in the session.
Jack Doohan however stole top spot with a 2m 05.769 in a frenetic final four minutes as Hitech’s Dennis Hauger finished a surprise second fastest, ahead of Caldwell plus Carlin duo of Schumacher and Das followed by Fittipaldi, Igor Fraga, Logan Sargeant, Theo Pourchaire and Clement Novalak in a mixed up top ten.
Zendeli initially finished tenth fastest but got demoted post session to 26th after his fastest time was wiped for exceeding track limits.
A frantic start to Qualifying saw everyone head out onto track but found themselves scrapping for track position with several drivers left unhappy at being impeded, as Beckmann opted to slip down the order to try and find some space ahead of the opening flying laps.
Zendeli meanwhile headed up the field and was duly rewarded with a 2m 05.393 lap time ahead of Theo Pourchaire and Aleksandr Smolyar as Belov lost his rear at Pouhon and spun backwards into the barrier to bring out a seven minute red flag.
Once the session resumed with rain rapidly drawing in, those who failed to get in a lap time prior to the brief stoppage managed to get laps on the board as Sargeant went fourth ahead of Beckmann whilst Liam Lawson edged out Piastri for eighth.
Rain however arrived shortly after everyone returned to pits to prepare for their final runs to ruin any chances for those out of position to improve on their final runs, despite Hauger and Novalak opting to attempt outlaps on slicks on a damp track in an attempt to gather data.
Zendeli therefore took a maiden F3 pole position ahead of Pourchaire, Smolyar, Sargeant, Beckmann, Richard Verschoor, Lawson, Piastri, Frederik Vesti and Alex Peroni.
Great Britain’s Olli Caldwell qualified 11th and just ahead of compatriot, Jake Hughes who was left pondering “Where has my pace gone?” over team radio after getting caught out in traffic on his second attempt.
Novalak meanwhile could only muster up 23rd position after all three Carlin drivers got caught up in traffic either side of the red flag, as a direct consequence of finding themselves up near the pit entry in the pit lane.
|1||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab||2m 05.769|
|2||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||+ 0.377|
|3||Olli Caldwell||Trident||+ 0.445|
|4||David Schumacher||Carlin||+ 0.526|
|5||Cameron Das||Carlin||+ 0.558|
|6||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||+ 0.769|
|7||Igor Fraga||Charouz||+ 0.915|
|8||Logan Sargeant||Prema||+ 0.999|
|9||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||+ 1.086|
|10||Clement Novalak||Carlin||+ 1.181|
|11||Roman Stanek||Charouz||+ 1.268|
|12||David Beckman||Trident||+ 1.318|
|13||Oscar Piastri||Prema||+ 1.318|
|14||Frederik Vesti||Prema||+ 1.385|
|15||Frederico Malvestiti||Jenzer||+ 1.483|
|16||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+ 1.545|
|17||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART GP||+ 1.621|
|18||Alex Peroni||Campos||+ 1.651|
|19||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||+ 1.688|
|20||Calan Williams||Jenzer||+ 1.703|
|21||Michael Belov||Charouz||+ 1.704|
|22||Sebastian Fernandez||ART GP||+ 1.787|
|23||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||+ 1.793|
|24||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Hitech GP||+ 1.802|
|25||Andreas Estner||Campos||+ 1.823|
|26||Lirim Zendeli||Trident||+ 1.877|
|27||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||+ 2.046|
|28||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+ 2.186|
|29||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer||+ 2.193|
|30||Alessio Deledda||Campos||+ 2.242|
|1||Lirim Zendeli||Trident||2m 05.393|
|2||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||+ 0.203|
|3||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART GP||+ 0.414|
|4||Logan Sargeant||Prema||+ 0.686|
|5||David Beckmann||Trident||+ 0.719|
|6||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+ 0.751|
|7||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||+ 0.779|
|8||Oscar Piastri||Prema||+ 0.813|
|9||Frederik Vesti||Prema||+ 0.922|
|10||Alex Peroni||Campos||+ 1.020|
|11||Olli Caldwell||Trident||+ 1.051|
|12||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+ 1.075|
|13||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab||+ 1.112|
|14||Matteo Nannini||Jenzer||+ 1.195|
|15||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||+ 1.365|
|16||Sebastian Fernandez||ART GP||+ 1.474|
|17||Frederico Malvestiti||Jenzer||+ 1.606|
|18||Igor Fraga||Charouz||+ 1.852|
|19||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||+ 2.111|
|20||Andreas Estner||Campos||+ 2.117|
|21||Calan Williams||Jenzer||+ 2.137|
|22||David Schumacher||Carlin||+ 2.305|
|23||Clement Novalak||Carlin||+ 2.579|
|24||Roman Stanek||Charouz||+ 2.965|
|25||Cameron Das||Carlin||+ 3.160|
|26||Alessio Deledda||Campos||+ 3.374|
|27||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Hitech GP||+ 3.588|
|28||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||+ 15.576|
|29||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||No Time Set|
|30||Michael Belov||Charouz||No Time Set|