Lirim Zendeli led a Trident one-two ahead of teammate David Beckmann in Free Practice at the Red Bull Ring. The Campos of Alex Peroni ran third fastest, as the Aussie carried over his form from Round 1.
It was the Campos racer who got the morning underway, setting the first flying lap at 1m 30s, before swiftly slicing that time down to 1m 21s. Logan Sargeant had a brief go in first, before Peroni leapt back ahead of him once more.
The speed of PREMA was evident once again in the early stages, with the Italians going one-two-three as Round 1 Race 1 winner Oscar Piastri took top spot, ahead of Sargeant and Frederik. This allowed Richard Verschoor to make the most of the clean air on track to take first by a margin of just 0.005s. Liam Lawson had the same idea though and remained out to steal P1 from the Dutchman in the Hitech Grand Prix.
Charouz Racing System were amongst those to have dived into the pits and were the first to get back onto the track on the hard tyres which will be used this weekend. David Schumacher went first on his return by breaking the 1m 21s barrier, ahead of teammate, Igor Fraga.
The Virtual Safety Car was displayed with less than five minutes to go as Ollie Caldwell took out the DRS board.
Just a single second separated the top 22 when the lights went green again and the order was expectedly shaken up as the field rushed to set one more fast lap before the end of the session. Zendeli was the first to lunge to the top, before Vesti and Peroni both enjoyed short stints in P1. Zendeli passed the finish line just in time for one more push and used this to reclaim first from the Campos man, with his teammate Beckmann nestling in behind him in P2. This pushed Peroni back to third ahead of Vesti and Alex Smolyar.
Sargeant and Piastri had to settle for sixth and seventh, ahead of Round 1 polesitter Sebastian Fernandez and Verschoor. Sophia Floersch also took her first top 10 finish in F3, with a pacey final tour.
Trident will want to keep up their impressive early form when the cars return for Qualifying at 2.05pm (local time).