Thoughts from Fernández, Zendeli and Piastri
FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three qualifiers for FIA Formula 3's Race 1 here in Austria. We are joined by pole-sitter Sebastián Fernández for ART Grand Prix, in second place is Lirim Zendeli for Trident, and third is Oscar Piastri for PREMA Racing. Sebastián, your first pole position in Formula 3, by such a small margin on your final lap - you must be delighted to start the season in this way.
Sebastián Fernández: I'm extremely happy to start this way. It was, as you said, extremely close, but I had it in the last lap and thankfully it went our way. So yeah, extremely happy.
FIA Formula 3: With the strange situation and the delay to the start of the season, do you think your experience from last year in this category helped you out today?
Sebastián: Yeah definitely. I think that for the rookie drivers in this championship, with how things have been, they do have a disadvantage. The experience definitely helped all the drivers that are on their second year.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations today. Lirim, moving on to you. Just 0.016 seconds in it at the end. What's your feeling after that session?
Lirim Zendeli: I don't even know myself! I knew I was P1 for a long time and I was waiting for the message, and it's a great feeling to be P2 obviously, to start the season like this, but pole would have been even better. The Red Bull Ring has never been a track where you can't overtake so I'll take that tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: I was going to say it's the first time you'll start from the front row going into Race 1. Do you feel well placed to challenge for victory?
Lirim: Yeah. Last year went pretty well for me. I know the track well and I know what I have to do tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.
FIA Formula 3: Good luck tomorrow. Oscar, moving on to you. Top three in qualifying, on your debut as well - I imagine you'd have taken that result at the start of the day?
Oscar Piastri: Yeah definitely. I was pretty surprised to end up P2 in the practice session to be honest. I haven't been here since 2018 and obviously none of us have driven the car for months, so it was a bit of a shock to the system getting back in. To be honest it's still sinking in that we've actually just had qualifying because it's all happened so fast. I'll definitely take P3 and I can do some work with that tomorrow.
FIA Formula 3: Just looking ahead to tomorrow, how do you feel ahead of your first race? Is it going to be a learning curve for you, or do you think that you can take the fight to these two more experienced guys ahead?
Oscar: I think we can definitely take the fight to them. I was running up the front in Formula Renault last year so it's not exactly unfamiliar territory, but obviously it's a very competitive grid. There's a lot of guys to try and keep behind me, and a couple to overtake, but I think our pace should be strong. I don't see why it wouldn't be. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully we can come out on top.
FIA Formula 3: We're looking forward to it as well. Back to you, Sebastián. You've got more experience at this level but it's also going to be unknown territory in a sense, starting from the front row in Race 1. Do you feel ready to handle the pressure from behind?
Sebastián: Yeah, for sure. I'm extremely ready and as you said, in F3 it's the first time I'll start on pole, but I've started from pole many times in my career so I know what my job is, and that's it.