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F3: Bortoleto takes late pole in Melbourne after three red flags

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Pole position qualifier Gabriel Bortoleto of Brazil and Trident

Gabriel Bortoleto claimed pole for Trident in the final moments of Formula 3 qualifying in Australia, the Brazilian leaving it late to take the top spot after a number of last-gasp improvements.

Qualifying was halted by the first of three red flags before any laps were posted, Campos Racing’s Josep Maria Marti going off at Turn 10 and hitting the barriers after running through the gravel trap.

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The session resumed with Bortoleto setting the early pace. Williams Academy and MP Motorsport driver Franco Colapinto then beat the Brazilian’s time to be the first driver into the 1m 33s.

The Argentine’s time remained the one to beat, and despite going fastest in the first two sectors on his subsequent attempt, he was unable to set a personal best in the final section, leaving him third.

Another red flag arrived with four and a half minutes remaining, this time for ART Grand Prix’s Kaylen Frederick. The American hit the barriers on the exit of the final corner, bringing another halt to proceedings

With just enough time for one final run, the session resumed and there was a string of improvements late on.

Firstly, Gabriele Mini went quickest of all for Hitech Pulse-Eight. Gregoire Saucy then beat his time moments later to take provisional pole, before Bortoleto retook the top spot as one of the last drivers across the line.

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Red Bull Junior Team driver Sebastian Montoya will start on reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race on Saturday.

For an in-depth recap of the session, visit the official Formula 3 website and read the full report here.

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