2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship – DeFrancesco Sets Standard on Day 1 of Pre-Season Tests

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Amongst a plethora of new faces in FIA Formula 3, it was the returning partnership of Devlin DeFrancesco and Trident who finished as top dogs on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The Canadian is one of just five drivers to return to their 2019 seats for the new season and edged out two of the others for first, with Alexander Peroni and Richard Verschoor finishing narrowly behind.

The drivers made their long-awaited return to the track in cool, early morning sunshine and most of the grid opted to head out early doors. Lining up with Dutch compatriot’s MP Motorsport, Bent Viscaal will be pleased with his new partnership, having become the first driver of 2020 to sit in first, with an initial time of 2:22.673.

The first true time of the morning was set by Enzo Fittipaldi though. The Brazilian had previously tested with both PREMA and Charouz, but seemed instantly at home in the HWA RACELAB machine, chopping the fastest lap down to 1:48.469. His teammate, Jake Hughes, was forced to miss the first day of testing due to prior commitments. The Briton will make his return in the afternoon session of Day 2.

Viscaal returned to the top on the 90-minute mark, narrowly beating out Dutch teammate Richard Verschoor by taking the time under 1m 48s. Alexander Smolyar briefly topped the times before Hitech Grand Prix switched on the style and sent Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson out for fast laps. The duo obliged by going one-two in the standings.

A productive morning for MP Motorsport was capped off by Viscaal once more, as the Dutchman returned to first place ahead of lunch with a time of 1:47.146, propped up by teammate Verschoor.

Trident started out the afternoon session on the front foot, as one of their new recruits, Lirim Zendeli, set the early pace as the cars returned to track. Enjoying her first full testing stint in F3, Sophia Flörsch showed the grid what she could do by beating out her fellow German to take P1.

In a similar fashion to the morning session, Hitech flicked the switch and turned things up a notch, with Lawson and Fewtrell going first and second with their first quick laps of the afternoon, taking the times to below 1m 48s.

From there, DeFrancesco and Igor Fraga both took turns at the top. Alex Peroni briefly dived in front of the duo, before the Canadian snatched back the position. Their jostling for first was fleetingly interrupted by a red flag for Théo Pourchaire, who had stopped on track.

With just three minutes remaining, only a few of the drivers dove out for one final tour, which left DeFrancesco sitting pretty in first place at the end of the session. The Canadian was followed by Peroni, Verschoor, Sebastián Fernández and Pourchaire, who completed the top five. Joining them in the top ten were Viscaal, Smolyar, Zendeli, Fraga and Niko Kari.

Trident will be hoping DeFrancesco continues in the same rich vein of form when the cars return for the second of three days tomorrow, at 9am.

Pre-season tests, Day 1, morning session

1st – Bent Viscaal (MP Motorsport), 1:47.146

2nd – Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport), 1:47.499

3rd – Max Fewtrell (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:47.562

4th – Liam Lawson (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:47.653

5th – Frederik Vesti (PREMA Racing), 1:47.694

6th – Alexander Smolyar (ART Grand Prix), 1:47.794

7th – Niko Kari (Charouz Racing System), 1:47.814

8th – Logan Sargeant (PREMA Racing), 1:47.859

9th – Lukas Dunner (MP Motorsport), 1:47.873

10th – Lirim Zendeli (Trident), 1:47.908

11th – Theo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix), 1:48.043

12th – Jack Doohan (HWA RACELAB), 1:48.100

13th – Dennis Hauger (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:48.194

14th – Alexander Peroni (Campos Racing), 1:48.231

15th – Sebastian Fernandez (ART Grand Prix), 1:48.248

16th – Matteo Nannini (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:48.248

17th – Olli Caldwell (Trident), 1:48.268

18th – Oscar Piastri (PREMA Racing), 1:48.270

19th – Federico Malvestiti (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:48.376

20th – Enzo Fittipaldi (HWA RACELAB), 1:48.469

21st – Clement Novalak (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:48.513

22nd – Calan Williams (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:48.769

23rd – Enaam Ahmed (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:48.772

24th – Devlin DeFrancesco (Trident), 1:48.820

25th – Igor Fraga (Charouz Racing System), 1:48.864

26th – David Schumacher (Charouz Racing System), 1:49.003

27th – Cameron Das (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:49.121

28th – Sophia Floersch (Campos Racing), 1:49.488

29th – Alessio Deledda (Campos Racing), 1:50.404

Pre-season tests, Day 1, afternoon session

1st – Devlin DeFrancesco (Trident), 1:46.844

2nd – Alexander Peroni (Campos Racing), 1:46.860

3rd – Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport), 1:46.919

4th – Sebastian Fernandez (ART Grand Prix), 1:47.036

5th – Theo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix), 1:47.093

6th – Bent Viscaal (MP Motorsport), 1:47.124

7th – Alexander Smolyar (ART Grand Prix), 1:47.273

8th – Lirim Zendeli (Trident), 1:47.473

9th – Igor Fraga (Charouz Racing System), 1:47.498

10th – Niko Kari (Charouz Racing System), 1:47.530

11th – Federico Malvestiti (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:47.600

12th – Liam Lawson (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:47.709

13th – Sophia Floersch (Campos Racing), 1:47.899

14th – Max Fewtrell (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:47.919

15th – Clement Novalak (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:47.954

16th – Dennis Hauger (Hitech Grand Prix), 1:47.975

17th – Enaam Ahmed (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:48.004

18th – Logan Sargeant (PREMA Racing), 1:48.015

19th – Enzo Fittipaldi (HWA RACELAB), 1:48.065

20th – Jack Doohan (HWA RACELAB), 1:48.073

21st – Olli Caldwell (Trident), 1:48.200

22nd – Lukas Dunner (MP Motorsport), 1:48.219

23rd – Calan Williams (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:48.263

24th – Cameron Das (Carlin Buzz Racing), 1:48.435

25th – Alessio Deledda (Campos Racing), 1:48.662

26th – David Schumacher (Charouz Racing System), 1:48.769

27th – Matteo Nannini (Jenzer Motorsport), 1:50.521

28th – Frederik Vesti (PREMA Racing), 1:50.879

29th – Oscar Piastri (PREMA Racing), 1:52.136

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