Dino Beganovic couldn’t quite get close enough to his teammate’s 1:31.091 and had to settle for second, 0.403s off the Briton’s pace. Leonardo Fornaroli led Trident’s charge as he secured third.
After a dry and humid Free Practice, conditions changed for Qualifying and the field faced a slippery albeit drying Hungaroring. Keen to get a banker lap in early, Fornaroli set the early pace on the wets with a 1:50.354 ahead of teammate Gabriel Bortoleto.
With a dry line beginning to emerge some drivers opted to gamble on the slicks. Running the medium tyres, Caio Collet went almost five seconds quicker than the Italian, meanwhile Maxwell Esterson found himself facing the wrong way after a spin out of Turn 2.
The Red Flag brought the session to a pause with 22 minutes on the clock. Oliver Gray got caught out around the slippery track, hitting the barriers out of Turn 3, but managed to crawl his way back to the pits.
Once green flag conditions resumed, Goethe became the driver to beat. His 1:37.440 put him over two-tenths clear of ART Grand Prix’s Nikola Tsolov, but personal bests continued as Mari Boya, Fornaroli and Bortoleto leaped up into P1 in turn.
Having set the pace in Practice, O’Sullivan set out to do so again, putting the #3 PREMA Racing car out front with a 1:34.150. However, the Briton found himself swiftly demoted as Josep María Martí pipped him by 0.006s at the halfway mark.
As the clocked ticked down, so too did the lap times. Hugh Barter went quickest momentarily with a 1:33.784, before Boya, Gabriele Minì and Christian Mansell all found even more margin out front.
O’Sullivan responded, going fastest in all three sectors to lay down a 1:31.091 with four minutes to go, as Beganovic hopped up into second ahead of Fornaroli. As the medium tyres faded away, few could improve, and the Williams junior’s time remained untouchable.
Franco Colapinto put MP Motorsport inside the top four ahead of Oliver Goethe, who ended the session fifth. Paul Aron ensured that all three PREMA Racing cars will line up for Sunday’s Feature Race inside the top six, ahead of Tsolov in seventh and MP Motorsport’s Jonny Edgar in eighth.
A mistake for Bortoleto on his penultimate attempt saw the Brazilian go wide across the run-off at Turn 4 and into Beganovic’s path. A slight improvement on his final run moved him up to ninth ahead of Mansell, Jenzer Motorsport’s Nikita Bedrin and Minì.
Minì will be looking to convert Saturday’s Sprint Race reserve grid pole into victory for Hitech Pulse-Eight when the lights go out at 9:50 local time.