Formula 3 qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix was riddled with red flags, with Trident’s Oliver Goethe fastest. But it was his teammate Gabriel Bortoleto who was the star, as his direct rivals failed to take pole and the two points that come with it, making the Brazilian the 2023 Formula 3 Champion in a shortened session that ended in the pit lane.
Ahead of the qualifying session, championship leader Bortoleto lead Prema’s Paul Aron by 38 points, with new Red Bull junior driver Pepe Martí trailing only a point behind in third, meaning the Brazilian driver could already unofficially take the title after the session.
It was a slow start of the session, as the drivers played a waiting game in the pit lane, as nobody wanted to lead the pack away.
Ahead of the session, the Jenzer team announced that Nikita Bedrin would not be partaking in the qualifying session after an issue during the free practice session.
Early problems ensued after the cars were finally out of the pitlane and Carlin’s Ido Cohen dipped a wheel onto the grass, leading to a spin for the Israeli driver and a red flag.
Following a brief red flag, the games were over and teams decided to send out their drivers straight away, trying to get ahead of any other possible stoppages.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet made it to provisional pole after the first stint, pipping Aron, before Joshua Dufek, who is making his F3 debut this weekend, spun into the gravel, bringing out the next red flag to remove the stricken Campos.
Following the red flag, Trident sent out their drivers Bortoleto and Oliver Goethe, with Bortoleto jumping up to fifth and Goethe taking over provisional pole position before crashing, finding the barrier in the second Lesmo and bringing out the third red flag of the session with just over ten minutes left on the clock.
Eventually, the call came from race control to not resume the session.
This meant that either Aron or Martí failed to score, making Bortoleto the 2023 driver’s champion as the championship was once again decided in the pit lane.
Goethe set the fastest time but will have to serve a ten-place grid penalty, Collet and Aron complete the top three, followed by Jonny Edgar, Bortoleto, Gabriele Mini, Zak O’Sullivan, Leonardo Fornaroli, Luke Browning, and Taylor Barnard. Gregoire Saucy will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from reverse pole.