Damage disrupts Barnicoat progress

Ben Barnicoat was left to rue a damage-disrupted second qualifying session which resulted in disappointing grid positions for the second and third races of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, who earlier qualified in third place for the opening race of the weekend, briefly topped the time sheets towards the closing minutes of the 20-minute session.

But a foray off the track damaged the Hitech GP driver’s front wing, preventing further time gains, resulting in him slipping down the order by the chequered flag.

It meant that Barnicoat will begin race two from 11th position. He will then set off from ninth place on the grid for the third and final race of the weekend.

“It’s disappointing that I ran wide in those closing stages and damaged the underside of my front wing,” Barnicoat said. “But it’s all part of my continuing learning experience in Formula 3. I’m sure that if it hadn’t have happened, I would have challenged for the top two rows of the grid.

“I’ve proven that throughout the early part of this season, and again earlier this weekend in the first qualifying session.

“I’ll look to take advantage of my grid slot in race one with a high placed finish, and then get about working my way up the grid in the two further races.”

Prema's Lance Stroll will start from pole position in both races two and three. Stroll headed Barnicoat's team-mate George Russell by 0.002s to head the race two grid, and enjoyed a more comfortable margin over Van Amersfoort Racing's Callum Ilott to secure race three pole. Russell will start race three from sixth place.