The one and only free practice session for Formula 3 started on a wet track, then it ended in the sun in the early afternoon. The young F3 drivers were wide awake, some of them made mistakes, without too much damage, and several of them went to the top of the time sheet. Finally, an Italian, who is supported by Ferrari, set the fastest time at the very end of the session: Gabriele Mini (HiTech), with an impressive 1:26.686 in such conditions.
Mini, a member of the Ferrari Drivers Academy, was 233/1000 of a second faster than Argentina’s Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport), who had been the first to make his presence felt at the start of the session, before his time was improved by Great Britain’s Luke Browning (Hi Tech), the provisional leader at the halfway point.
The session was then briefly interrupted by a red flag, time to evacuate the car of another young British driver, Jonny Edgar (MP Motorsport), who had made a mistake when arriving at the Place du Casino. The last 15 minutes were much more animated, with drivers switching to slicks to climb to the top of the timesheet. And Browning stayed out front for a long time, with a time of 1:36.015, bettered by Colapinto’s 1:30.102 with two minutes to go.
At the end of the session, Mini and Colapinto were joined in the top three by Grégoire Saucy (ART GP), followed in the final standings of these first free practice session by Josep Maria Marti (Campos) and Brazilian leader of the championship, Gabriel Bortoleto (Trident).
German Oliver Goethe (Trident), a member of Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), who is making his F3 debut, made a mistake at the end of the session, shooting straight at Sainte-Dévote, and had to be content with the 28th time, out of 30. His compatriot Sophia Floersch (PHM Racing by Charouz), who is returning to F3 this year, managed to get into the Top 20 of this inaugural session. Ready for Friday morning, from 11:10 am, for the qualifying session.