Oliver Goethe was straight back into action at Monza, going fastest of all in Free Practice with a 1:38.677. The Trident driver secured his lap just moments before a second session-ending Red Flag, finishing over a tenth clear of PREMA Racing’s Paul Aron and Gabriele Minì for Hitech Pulse-Eight.
Rodin Carlin set the early benchmark, with Oliver Gray putting in a 1:41.612 on his initial effort around the Temple of Speed, half a tenth ahead of teammate Ido Cohen.
Only six cars had laid down a time within the opening six minutes, as newcomer Joshua Dufek went quickest on his Formula 3 debut, slotting the #25 Campos Racing car to the top of the timing sheet with a 1:40.661.
As the 30-minute mark approached, the track quickly got busier as queues of cars formed, all eager to get that all-important slipstream. Home hero Leonardo Fornaroli took charge, dipping into the 1:39s, before Jenzer Motorsport’s Taylor Barnard went over two tenths clear of the Trident.
The first Red Flag was brought out by Nikita Bedrin, as the second Jenzer stopped on track. The clock continued to tick down and running resumed with 16 minutes to go.
Grégoire Saucy took ART Grand Prix up into the top spot on the restart, clocking in a 1:39.276 to go eight thousandths faster than Fornaroli. Piecing together a perfect lap was far from easy. Zak O’Sullivan headed a lengthy train of cars around the Italian circuit, whilst several drivers found the runoff at the Variante de Rettifilo.
Minì then broke into the 1:38s, but the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver was immediately beaten by Goethe and Aron. That flurry proved to be the final attempts of the morning, as MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya spun off into the barriers at Turn 11 inside the final six minutes.
With not enough time to resume, Goethe remained fastest ahead of Aron and Minì. Saucy dropped to fourth ahead of the two Tridents of Fornaroli and Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto.
Barnard closed his session in seventh ahead of Franco Colapinto, Dino Beganovic and Luke Browning, who rounded out the top 10.
Trident will be looking to convert their Practice pace into pole when Qualifying gets underway at 15:05 local time.