The 19-year-old Indian, who is backed by the Force India Formula 1 team, was 0.010 seconds faster than Marcus Armstrong (PREMA Theodore Racing, 2m12.993s), the current FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader. Alex Palou (Hitech Bullfrog GP, 2m13.198s) and Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing, 2m13.351s), who is one point down on Ferrari junior Armstrong in the drivers’ standings, ended up third and fourth in qualifying.
Due to repair work on the track, qualifying got underway 50 minutes later than scheduled. Once the session had started, most drivers initially still remained in their pit boxes. One of the first drivers to compete one lap was Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing, 2m14,203s). The German was still on top with five minutes remaining from his compatriot and rookie driver Julian Hanses (ma-con, 2m14.940s). However, both were unable to hold on to their respective positions. In a thrilling showdown, rookie Marcus Armstrong was the first to move up into first place before Jehan Daruvala then claimed the top position in the final seconds.
Armstrong eventually had to make do with second place from Alex Palou and Guanyu Zhou. Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing, 2m13.357s), who came to Belgium in third place of the drivers’ standings, secured fifth place. Rookie drivers locked out the second half of the top ten. Robert Shvartzman (PREMA Theodore Racing, 2m13.469s) was classified sixth from Enaam Ahmed (Hitech Bullfrog GP, 2m13.579s), Ben Hingeley (Hitech Bullfrog GP, 2m13.673s), Jüri Vips (Motopark, 2m13.742s) and Jonathan Aberdein (Motopark, 2m13.822s)
Second qualifying is already taking place today at 17.45 hrs.
Jehan Daruvala (Carlin): “My car handled considerably better, because we have found a few things we could improve after free practice. However, I also have to admit that I had some luck. My plan was to find a slipstream, because that is a way to be faster here. I succeeded in doing so and thus, I was able to gain almost half a second only on the straight. Because I was at the right point on the track, and thus had a little bit of luck from that perspective, it was enough for pole position.”