Oliver Bearman hit the ground running at Monza, finishing the opening session of the Championship-deciding weekend fastest of all. Isack Hadjar also looked quick out of the starting gates, ending up just a fraction off the top spot. Arthur Leclerc made it two PREMA Racing drivers in the top three in third.
With heavy rain overnight and into the morning, Free Practice got underway in damp conditions as drivers headed out onto the circuit. Rafael Villagomez was the first to suffer a spin, pirouetting out of Turn 2 under acceleration but able to get going once again.
As the sunshine began to break through the cloud cover, drivers were finding time and began to push more. Hadjar found out the track wasn’t easy though, spinning at Ascari. Fortunately for the Hitech Grand Prix driver, he got it pointed the right way and continued.
With half an hour to go, Juan Manuel Correa led the way on a 1:50.513, narrowly ahead of Alexander Smolyar and Zak O’Sullivan. A Virtual Safety Car was deployed briefly for the Jenzer Motorsport of Federico Malvestiti, who had come to a temporary halt at pit exit. He was able to get going once more.
F3 TITLE FINALE:
- Martins on F3 title showdown: “Forget everything, drive naturally and go for it” - Hadjar on F3 title showdown: “The only goal is to win" - Stanek on F3 title showdown: ‘I want to look back and know I did the maximum to win’ - Bearman on F3 title showdown: 'Keep a cool head and no silly risks' - Maloney on F3 title showdown: “It’s never over until it’s over”
MP Motorsport’s Smolyar was the first to try the slicks on what was a greasy track with 15 minutes remaining. Though he wasn’t posting top sector times, his gamble seemed to inspire the rest, as drivers re-emerged from the pitlane fitted with dry tyres for the final 12 minutes of Practice.
Entering the final 10 minutes, the track hit the crossover point. Martins shot to the top by four-tenths until Grégoire Saucy and Oliver Bearman dipped into the 1:47s with five minutes to go. The PREMA Racing driver went almost six-tenths clear with four minutes to go on a 1:47.228.
Bearman’s next lap was almost a second quicker as the track continued to dry out rapidly in the final moments. David Vidales, Martins and then Jonny Edgar each then took the top spot in quick succession before Bearman restored his name to the top of the times on a 1:44.873.
Hadjar ended up 0.048s down in P2 ahead of Arthur Leclerc in third. A late spin for Smolyar brought out the yellow flags in the final sector preventing any further improvements.