MP Motorsport’s Alexander Smolyar secured Formula 3 pole position in Budapest, avoiding the traffic and a late red flag to leave the rest trailing. Zane Maloney got the closest, ending up a tenth back to share the front row. Oliver Bearman was the best-placed PREMA Racing car on the grid with the Briton securing P3.
Sweltering temperatures meant that the first lap was critical to the drivers’ chances, meaning that catching any form of traffic was even more costly than usual around the Hungaroring. Those issues along with track limits caused more than a few headaches for many up and down the grid.
Arthur Leclerc and Jak Crawford didn’t have a representative time in the first half of the session, both falling foul and going over the white lines. The latter had been fastest in Free Practice but couldn’t replicate his form from earlier in the day. He ended up seventh on the grid after a late red flag for the stranded Carlin of Zak O’Sullivan left many scrambling to make it back round for a final flying lap.
With under three minutes left of the session when it resumed, several were caught out as the clock expired, unable to make it to the line to start a lap due to traffic ahead. That including all three PREMAs though for Leclerc, things weren’t quite as bad. The Monégasque already had a time good enough for fourth on the grid, crucially ahead of both title rivals Victor Martins and Isack Hadjar.
The former will start the Feature from eighth on the grid while Hadjar will have a task on his hands come Sunday, lining up in 10th. For Martins, it means he will have at least one championship rival ahead of him on both the Sprint and Feature Race grids.
Gregoire Saucy was the highest-placed ART Grand Prix driver in Qualifying, ending the session fifth-fastest ahead of Kush Maini, who couldn’t replicate his teammate’s pace. Caio Collet likewise couldn’t match Smolyar in his MP and will start ninth.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Franco Colapinto will start the Sprint Race on the front row but Oliver Goethe – making his debut with Campos Racing this weekend in place of the injured Hunter Yeany – will be on reverse grid pole for his first race in FIA Formula 3, having ended qualifying P12.
The Formula 3 Sprint Race is set to begin at 1100 on Saturday at the Hungaroring.