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Antonio Giovinazzi tops both F3 practices in Spielberg

by Peter Allen
Antonio Giovinazzi

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Antonio Giovinazzi showed improved pace as he led the way in both free practice sessions at the eighth round of the FIA F3 European Championship in Spielberg.

Giovinazzi’s Carlin team enjoyed a promising start to the weekend at the Austrian circuit, with three of its drivers making the top four in each session.

The Italian, who has slipped to tenth in the standings having not finished a race inside the top six during the last three rounds, set a time of 1m25.843s in the opening session and then shaved almost exactly half a second from his benchmark in the second segment to manage a 1m25.347s.

Jake Dennis had an impressive run with a second and a third in the two sessions, swapping positions with Esteban Ocon, who carries a 116-point advantage into the Austrian event.

Tom Blomqvist was fourth in the first session ahead of Prema duo Antonio Fuoco and Dennis van de Laar, with another Carlin driver and another Prema man completing the top eight in the form of Jordan King and Nicholas Latifi respectively. Mucke Motorsport duo Lucas Auer and Felix Rosenqvist – the local hero and 2013 triple winner at Spielberg respectively – set identical times as they completed the top ten.

King was fourth in the second session, followed by seven-time 2014 winner Max Verstappen, who was a quiet 11th in the opening session. Blomqvist, van de Laar and Fuoco followed. Ninth was Ed Jones, making his return to the series after skipping four rounds due to injury, and Auer was tenth.

After forgoing the trip to Moscow, the T-Sport and Fortec teams have returned to the fold, although Alfonso Celis is back with the latter team in place of Mitch Gilbert, who has transferred to GP3. Double R are absent having failed to find a replacement for the departed Felipe Guimaraes.

Session results
Pos Driver? Team Session 1 Session 2?
1 Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:25.843 1:25.347
2 Esteban Ocon Prema Powerteam 1:25.870 1:25.441
3 Jake Dennis Carlin 1:25.867 1:25.486
4 Jordan King Carlin 1:26.278 1:25.526
5 Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Racing 1:26.646 1:25.638
6 Tom Blomqvist Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:26.014 1:25.837
7 Dennis van de Laar Prema Powerteam 1:26.275 1:25.858
8 Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam 1:26.074 1:25.877
9 Ed Jones Carlin 1:26.845 1:25.962
10 Lucas Auer Mucke Motorsport 1:26.488 1:25.983
11 Roy Nissany Mucke Motorsport 1:27.044 1:26.051
12 Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Racing 1:26.809 1:26.102
13 Felix Serralles Team West-Tec 1:26.934 1:26.112
14 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:27.078 1:26.141
15 Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Motorsport 1:26.488 1:26.147
16 Nicholas Latifi Prema Powerteam 1:26.377 1:26.189
17 Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Racing 1:27.163 1:26.313
18 Santino Ferrucci EuroInternational 1:27.315 1:26.421
19 Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Racing 1:27.379 1:26.459
20 Spike Goddard ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:27.182 1:26.481
21 Alexander Toril ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:26.823 1:26.610
22 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports 1:28.259 1:26.943
23 Hector Hurst Team West-Tec 1:27.150 1:26.952
24 Michele Beretta EuroInternational 1:27.407 1:27.171
25 Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Racing 1:27.051 1:27.273
26 John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Motorsports 1:27.757 1:27.457