PREMA Theodore Racing enjoyed another outstanding start of the weekend today at Nürburgring, as the FIA Formula 3 Championship went underway on the shortest configuration of the mighty Eifel venue in Germany. In qualifying 1, setting the grid for tomorrow's Race 1, Russian racer Robert Shwartzman posted a superb late flying lap to take the pole, his second of the year. The Ferrari Driver Academy graduate prevailed on team-mate Mick Schumacher by only 47 thousands of a second. The German continued to show great form and confirmed himself as a top championship contender. He had already underlined the same status by taking the lead in the combined practice standings. Estonian Ralf Aron was able to round out the top-5, showing good potential despite getting stuck in traffic.
The team's other two FDA-supported drivers, Marcus Armstrong, and Guanyu Zhou, found more trouble along the road. The New Zealander was stopped by an engine issue in practice and that limited his track time to only four laps. He overcame the issue by ending up 8th in qualifying 1 but, unfortunately, as the team was forced to fit a new engine, he will be penalized 10 spots on the grid for race 1. Zhou ended up in 11th place as he struggled with his second set of tires. He will also have to serve a 5-spot grid penalty for a contact in race 3 at Misano.
# 1 - Guanyu Zhou
"With the first set of tyres the car felt really good but, with the second, already while warming up I felt a big difference, like I didn't have any grip. Then, it was the same when I started pushing. It's a bit of a shame because we had the potential for a much better result. Anyway, we will have a carryover penalty from Misano for race 1 so the real focus is now on qualifying 2."
# 4 - Mick Schumacher
“Today went really well as we got P1 in practice, then P2 for race 1 in a front row lockout for the team. We are keeping the great momentum of the previous three rounds, showing that we have the pace to be on top. Now we are looking forward to remaining at the front and making the most out of the races."
# 7 - Ralf Aron
"After a difficult free practice session we made some changes with the car and it proved to be the right way. We were P1 on the first set of tyres, but unfortunately got out of the pit too late and into the traffic. It was a messy second set so considering that, I am happy with P5, but we definitely had much more performance and could’ve fought for the front row."
# 8 - Marcus Armstrong
"It just hasn't been our day. Unfortunately, an engine change in free practice means that we will have a grid penalty which is not ideal of course. I'm a little bit disappointed with how the day went. Considering that we only did a few laps in practice, in qualifying the first set of tires was good although the second set felt really different. We have some work to do tomorrow in race 1, then we will try to do our best and go for it in qualifying 2."
# 10 - Robert Shwartzman
"It feels great to be back celebrating a pole position after the one we got at Norisring. We were able to fight for it from the start of the session and we managed to put down a really quick laptime in our final attempt. Now we have to remain focused and keep the same momentum in race 1."