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Practice report
FIA F3 Bahrain

Bahrain F3: Stanek tops practice ahead of Saucy and Leclerc

Roman Stanek topped the first FIA Formula 3 practice off the 2022 season in Bahrain, leading from Gregoire Saucy and Arthur Leclerc.

Roman Stanek, Trident

The Trident driver, who joins the team from Hitech Grand Prix for his third season in the series, set a 1m48.012s to top the timesheets on Friday morning.

Rookies Saucy (ART Grand Prix) and Franco Colapinto, driving for new outfit Van Amersfoort Racing, had been trading times at the top of the timesheet before Stanek took the top spot with 15 minutes remaining of the sole practice session.

It is the first time the series races at Bahrain International Circuit, having undertaken its pre-season test here earlier this month.

Ferrari Drivers’ Academy member Leclerc, who had been sat in P8, went second-quickest with seven minutes remaining of the session, setting a 1m48.090s, before he was pushed into third by reigning Formula Regional European champion Saucy.

Leclerc’s Prema teammates also finished in the top seven, with fellow FDA member Ollie Bearman and Red Bull junior Jak Crawford in sixth and seventh respectively.

Prema, the reigning drivers’ champion with with Dennis Hauger, will be hoping to clinch the teams’ championship this year after being narrowly beaten by Trident last season.

F3 has just one practice session ahead of today’s qualifying, with the new format seeing one reverse-grid sprint race on Saturday and a feature race on Sunday.

Alexander Smolyar went quickest 10 minutes into the session as the first representative laps were set, leading an MP Motorsport 1-2-3 with a 1m49.458s from Kush Maini and Caio Collet.

The Russian driver had previously said he would not compete in F3 or any international racing this season as sanctions were imposed on drivers from the country amid the war in Ukraine.

But he appeared on the series’ entry list for this weekend as an Authorised Neutral Driver under the FIA flag.

As the times ramped up, Juan Manuel Correa topped the timesheets with a third of the session’s running complete, setting a 1m48.642s to go four tenths clear of Colapinto as the first driver to break the 1m48s barrier.

The ART Grand Prix driver returned to racing last season having been forced to sit out 2020 after suffering horrific injuries in the FIA Formula 2 crash at Spa in 2019 which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert.

Teammate Saucy was the second to head into the 1m48s, slotting into P2 just 0.05s behind Correa.

He traded spots with Colapinto, who briefly went quickest, before regaining the top spot with a 1m48.099s.

Reigning champion Prema was late out the garage, with its three drivers only emerging from the pits with 20 minutes of running remaining.

Bearman and Crawford went fourth and fifth respectively on their first flying laps, with Leclerc slotting into P12, before managing to move up to P8 on his next attempt with a 1m48.681s.

Isack Hadjar, who led the second and third days of the pre-season test, went seventh fastest for Hitech on his first flying lap, setting a 1m48.665s.

Just one second covered the top 15 with 15 minutes remaining, with Stanek going quickest with a 1m48.012s.

Much of the field headed into the pits for a brief break before heading out for the final 10 minutes of the session.

There was a brief yellow flag in sector 1 as Reece Ushijima came to a stop on track, but he was able to get the car going again without causing much disruption to running.

Victor Martins, the highest-placed returning driver from last season, only managed P12. The Alpine Academy driver joins ART from MP Motorsport this season.

Collet, who also enters his second year in the series, put in 18 laps, the most of any driver, but ended up in P17 having been near the top of the times earlier in the session.

Bahrain F3 - Practice results:

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Czech Republic Roman Staněk
Italy Trident 1'48.012
2 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy
France ART Grand Prix 1'48.036 0.024
3 Arthur Leclerc
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.090 0.078
4 Isack Hadjar
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.285 0.273
5 Argentina Franco Colapinto
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.402 0.390
6 Oliver Bearman
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.419 0.407
7 Jak Crawford
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.428 0.416
8 Rafael Villagómez
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.470 0.458
9 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.557 0.545
10 United States Juan Manuel Correa
France ART Grand Prix 1'48.642 0.630
11 Zane Maloney
Italy Trident 1'48.736 0.724
12 France Victor Martins
France ART Grand Prix 1'48.782 0.770
13 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar
Italy Trident 1'48.795 0.783
14 Spain David Vidales
Spain Campos Racing 1'48.802 0.790
15 Reece Ushijima
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'48.802 0.790
16 United States Kaylen Frederick
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.869 0.857
17 Caio Collet
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.889 0.877
18 Finland Niko Kari
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.115 1.103
19 Malaysia Nazim Azman
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'49.125 1.113
20 India Kush Maini
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'49.188 1.176
21 Pepe Martí
Spain Campos Racing 1'49.205 1.193
22 Finland William Alatalo
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.270 1.258
23 László Tóth
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.445 1.433
24 Italy Francesco Pizzi
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.475 1.463
25 Hunter Yeany
Spain Campos Racing 1'49.557 1.545
26 Zak O'Sullivan
Carlin 1'49.570 1.558
27 Ido Cohen
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'49.641 1.629
28 Ayrton Simmons
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.708 1.696
29 Italy Enzo Trulli
Carlin 1'49.724 1.712
30 Brad Benavides
Carlin 1'50.193 2.181

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