Oliver Bearman didn’t waste a second from the get-go as he stormed to his third pole position of his rookie season. A torrential downpour mid-session meant the field had one shot at pole and the Briton put it all together with a 2:05.736 as the rain began to fall.
PREMA Racing took their first 1-2 Qualifying result of the season as Championship leader Frederik Vesti claimed his spot on the front row. ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins secured another top three start in third.
Starting out on a drying track and with the forecast predicting heavy rain, the field were out of the pits as soon as possible. Before anyone could complete a timed lap, the Red Flag was deployed three minutes into the session after Joshua Mason found the gravel trap at Turn 9.
It was a race against time once green flag conditions resumed, with all-bar Kush Maini opting to gamble on the slicks.
Having been advised by his team to finish every lap possible as he led the field back onto the track, Vesti skirted his way around the narrow dry line to clock in a 2:06.199. Carving out a path for his teammate behind, Bearman took full advantage, going fastest by 0.463s.
The PREMA duo were in the right place at the right time as rain began to fall heavily in Sector 3, leaving those behind with little hope of beating the Briton’s lap.
Clocking in two purple sectors on his next lap, Bearman continued to go quicker. However, with conditions in the final sector too wet to improve, the Ferrari Academy junior’s job was done. The field headed into the pits to wait out the final 20 minutes of running, as the expected downpour arrived in earnest.
Martins’ sole effort managed to slot the Frenchman into third for his fourth-consecutive top three start ahead of Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney and Théo Pourchaire. Dennis Hauger popped himself up into sixth ahead of Ralph Boschung, Enzo Fittipaldi, and Richard Verschoor.
After securing the all-important P10 spot, Jehan Daruvala will line up on pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race. Lights go out at 13:45 local time.