Prema Racing’s Mick Schumacher sealed a third consecutive European Formula 3 pole position, in race one qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, while championship rival Daniel Ticktum ended up sixth.
Red Bull Formula 1 junior Ticktum enters the penultimate weekend of the season three points clear of Schumacher at the top of the standings, after having had his lead slashed during a Nurburgring round in which the Prema driver won all three races.
After topping the timesheet in both practice sessions, Schumacher vaulted to the front of the order during the final runs in qualifying.
Provisionally setting session best times in sectors one, two and three, Schumacher demoted Jehan Daruvala from top spot.
Schumacher then improved further to record an insurmountable 1m23.640s to seal pole.
Ticktum was unable to pose a challenge to Schumacher’s pace. In the closing stages, the Motopark driver slipped to as low as ninth on the timesheet.
He found time in the closing laps but could only improve to sixth and 0.476s adrift of Schumacher’s benchmark.
Schumacher’s closest rivals in qualifying were instead his Prema team-mates.
After denying Schumacher race one pole at the Nurburgring, Robert Shwartzman’s penultimate lap elevated him to the front row but was still 0.247s from pole.
Securing a Prema 1-2-3 at the front, Marcus Armstrong was just 0.039s behind Shwartzman in third place.
Despite having sat on provisional pole early on in the second and final runs of the session, it took a late improvement from Daruvala to secure fourth place after he had tumbled to the periphery of the top 10.
Juri Vips edged Ticktum by 0.004s to beat his Motopark team-mate to fifth on the grid.
Jonothan Aberdein, Enaam Ahmed and Fabio Scherer all improved with their final laps of the session and were the only drivers in the top 10 to do so. The three finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
Ralf Aron rounded out the top 10 for Prema ahead of team-mate Guan Yu Zhou.