ROAD TO F1: Lundgaard lands maiden F2 pole as Zendeli takes top spot for F3 season finale
Renault Junior Christian Lundgaard will start from pole for the first time in Formula 2, after he beat Williams Academy driver Dan Ticktum by the finest of margins, with just 0.005s separating the two.
In F3, none of the six title contenders will start from the front row in the season finale, as Trident’s Lirim Zendeli clinched his second pole in three rounds, ahead of Jake Hughes.
Ticktum pushes Lundgaard hard in F2
The opening free practice session of Round 9 had been extremely quiet by the usual standards of F2, as the grid opted to focus heavily on long-runs and data gathering ahead of their maiden race outing at Mugello.
In contrast, qualifying delivered nothing of the sort. Mick Schumacher and Luca Ghiotto flew out of the traps, but pushed the limits too far on their flying laps and both drivers went skidding through the gravel trap.
Lundgaard though was spot on, going quickest after both the first and second runs. Ticktum pushed him right to the wire, getting to within a hundredth of a second of his time, but in the end, couldn’t match the ART man.
Championship leader Callum Ilott had been lingering outside of the top-10 during the first half of qualifying, but punched in a purple middle sector to leap up to third, only losing time in Sector 3.
Ferrari junior Robert Shwarztman made a late improvement to sneak into the top 10 and will start from ninth, whilst fellow title contenders Yuki Tsunoda and Schumacher could only manage 11th and 15th, ahead of the Feature Race on Saturday at 1645 local time.
F3 title fight wide open going into finale
Just 11 short weeks have passed since the season-opener in Austria, but the F3 campaign will draw to a close in Mugello, and it’s set to be a blockbuster. There’s a tantalizing six-way brawl for the drivers' championship on-going, but none of them will start from pole.
During the first half of qualifying, it looked like there would only be one contender for pole. Jake Hughes had the topped Free Practice and dominated the opening stint, but it was the Trident of Zendeli who delivered when it counted.
Logan Sargeant made a late dash for first himself and managed to sneak into second place, but will drop behind Hughes and down to fifth, as he is carrying over a three-place grid drop from Monza for causing a collision.
Having finished 11th on track, Piastri will start Race 1 all the way back in 16th, as he is carrying over a five-place grid drop from Monza, for forcing David Beckmann off-track.
Currently sixth in the standings, Frederik Vesti can mathematically still steal the F3 crown and has given himself a solid starting berth, taking P3. Theo Pourchaire will line up in seventh, with Beckman in eighth and Liam Lawson 12th.
You won’t want to miss a minute of the action, when the lights go out for Race 1 on Saturday at 1025 local time.