Liam Lawson has claimed pole for the FIA Formula 3 Championship’s opening race at Monza, after three of his rivals were handed penalties.
A post-session penalty for a careless mistake had threatened to derail Liam Lawson’s strong fourth-placed qualifying performance at Monza for the penultimate round of the series, but with the Kiwi was eventually judged to be in the clear.
A frenetic session saw several drivers fall foul of driving infringements as they dallied around the circuit in a bid to catch the tow of a driver ahead on their flying laps.
But in a desperate attempt to capitalise on prime track position, Lawson’s Hitech GP team sent the Kiwi on his way with the cooling fan still attached to the car before it came loose and fell onto the circuit at Curva Grande, resulting in a red flag. Lawson was later cleared of any overshadowing penalties.
French driver Theo Pourchaire surged to an at-the-time maiden pole position after stealing the tow from a rival in the dying stages of the session. His 1:37.301 lap put him four-tenths clear of the field as many drivers bailed out of the last timed lap as they squabbled for slipstream.
Lirim Zendeli with Alexander Smolyar were second and third, ahead of Lawson. But, the pair along with Pourchaire were later handed a barrage of penalties — all for impeding other drivers during the qualifying session.
The Kiwi is currently 41-points behind Logan Sargeant in the standings, but will start further up the order come the race start, with Sargeant only qualifying a provisional 10th.
The first race for the F3 field this weekend will begin from 8.30 pm NZT September 5.