Maloney takes F3 pole amid confusion as chequered flag is shown early

Formula 3

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Zane Maloney has been credited with pole position in a confusing end to Formula 3 qualifying in which the chequered flag was shown too soon.

The morning’s practice session had been heavily interrupted, with three red flags limiting running and drivers setting no representative dry times on a very wet track as rain continued to fall. Ten drivers had ended the session in gravel, at various points and very little clear or meaningful running had been possible.

As a consequence, the first twenty minutes of F3’s half-hour qualifying session saw drivers take things gingerly, with drivers not pushing hard until the track began drying. With no option for intermediate tyres, all drivers went out on the full wets and early good times were in the 1’44 region, seconds off eventual pole.

Formula 3 teams are not equipped for rapid tyre changes, having no pit stops during its races, so drivers gambling on a switch to slicks had to time their changes perfectly.

But with just over five minutes to go the red flag was called after Arthur Leclerc beached his car facing backwards in the gravel at Rivazza. He had tripped over Enzo Trulli, who waited to run on slicks, finally going out on the wet tyres but had a total lack of grip. He said on the radio that he couldn’t do anything to have prevented the incident, which is being investigated by the stewards.

Isack Hadjar, who had been on a very fast lap before the red flag, initially set provisional pole as drivers posted their final times. However, he was beaten by first Gregoire Saucy, Roman Stanek and Zane Maloney, who appeared to finish the session on top.

Some drivers were shown on the timing screens to have taken the chequered flag on-track before the session time had expired – possibly due to confusion over the red flag. Teams appeared puzzled over whether to inform drivers to continue or stop, due to conflicting messages.

David Vidales and Ollie Bearman nearly collided through Rivazza, in a very similar incident to Trulli and Leclerc, during the final moments. Meanwhile Maloney’s 1’41.180 stuck to the true end of the session, however, and the Trident driver took pole with Roman Stanek second.

Franco Colapinto, who qualified 12th, will take pole for tomorrow’s partially-reversed-grid race, with Ido Cohen alongside him on the front row. Maloney’s two points for pole put him even with Colapinto in the standings, the pair in sixth and seventh place on 12 points.

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13Zane MaloneyTrident
22Roman StanekTrident
35Jak CrawfordPrema
48Gregoire SaucyART
56Oliver BearmanPrema
67Victor MartinsART
718Isack HadjarHitech
826Zak O’SullivanCarlin
910Caio ColletMP
1012Kush MainiMP
1123Ido CohenJenzer
1229Franco ColapintoHWA
1317Kaylen FrederickHitech
141Oliver RasmussenTrident
1511Alexander SmolyarMP
1621Hunter YeanyCampos
1719Nazim AzmanHitech
1825William AlataloJenzer
1916Francesco PizziCharouz
2030Rafael VillagomezHWA
214Arthur LeclercPrema
2231Reece UshijimaHWA
2327Brad BenavidesCarlin
2422Pepe MartiCampos
2524Federico MalvestitiJenzer
2614Laszlo TothCharouz
2720David VidalesCampos
2828Enzo TrulliCarlin
2915David SchumacherCharouz

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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