Liam Lawson will start seventh in tomorrow’s FIA Formula 3 feature race from Spa-Francorchamps after the Kiwi was one of multiple drivers to be caught out by changing weather conditions which curtailed the session prematurely as a shower washed over the circuit with 15 minutes remaining.
It meant Toyota Racing Series graduate Lirim Zendeli earned his maiden F3 pole position after setting his best lap time in the opening few minutes of the session.
Joining Zendeli on the front row was ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire with teammate Alexander Smolyar behind in third as the duo benefitted from the changing conditions with their best times an aberration from usual pecking order.
A red flag to recover the crashed Michael Belov at Pouhon after only seven minutes failed to help much of the field as only nine drivers had set a lap time before the incident.
Ashen skies then rolled in just as the session resumed with light showers quickly dampening the circuit.
Several drivers still needed to set a lap time but the pole was safely netted by Zendeli when championship leader Logan Sargeant completed his first flying lap six-tenths slower than the German.
Lawson only managed six laps in the tricky session but would set the seventh quickest lap time, seven-tenths off pole and ahead of fellow Prema rival Oscar Piastri.
Ahead of Lawson was 2019 Macau Grand Prix winner and former M2 Competition racer Richard Verschoor who posted a thundering time for the relatively uncompetitive MP Motorsport outfit. The Dutch driver was jubilant with his performance, admitting after the session the devils of his difficult 2020 season have seemingly been exorcized at the Belgian venue and has high hopes heading into tomorrow’s race.
Well off the pace was title protagonist Jake Hughes who was left frustrated after qualifying 12th ahead of HWA teammate Jack Doohan. The Australian had topped the sole F3 practice session and HWA expected similar results in qualifying only to flounder in the changing weather conditions.
Lawson’s Hitech GP teammates Pierre-Louis Chovet and Dennis Hauger also suffered difficult sessions and will start from 27th and 29th respectively.
The F3 paddock will kick start their Belgian GP weekend with its feature race tonight from 8.30 pm – a race Lawson will be aiming to capitalise on the arbitrary starting grid to further narrow his points deficit to the Prema duo.