Force India junior Jehan Daruvala took a remarkable maiden pole position in just his second Formula 3 European Championship event at Monza, as he and his Carlin team-mates filled four of the top five places.
The Mumbai racer and British team-mate Lando Norris repeated the front row from last year’s Formula Renault NEC round at the circuit, where they were also team-mates but markedly both failed to win.
The qualifying session was split into two when Harrison Newey crashed his Van Amersfoot Racing car halfway through the session and brought out the red flags.
At this point championship leader Joel Eriksson was on top by seven tenths from Prema rookie Mick Schumacher, with the Carlin drivers further down the timesheet.
Eriksson and Ilott had traded the top spot during the first run, with Hitech’s Jake Hughes also briefly going fastest as the times tumbled.
When the session restarted Carlin were absolutely on it, with Lando Norris, Jake Dennis and Daruvala’s opening laps putting them second, fourth and fifth. Eriksson failed to improve and was punished the next lap as Ilott, Dennis and Norris beat his best time.
Norris looked set to take his second pole of the season when the chequered flag fell but an inspired effort by Daruvala put him past his team-mate by three hundredths of a second.
Norris had used Ilott’s slipstream for most of his lap, and felt that had he had it a little longer he would have put in a lap faster than Daruvala’s.
Ferdinand Habsburg made it even sweeter by putting his Carlin car in fifth despite pulling the short straw on strategy, demoting Eriksson to a disappointing sixth place.
Early pacesetters Hughes and Schumacher ended the session in eighth and ninth, behind Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou.
Joey Mawson made up for team-mate Newey’s crash with his second top ten starting position.
Qualifying 1 results
1 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1m44.105s
2 Lando Norris Carlin +0.030s
3 Jake Dennis Carlin +0.097s
4 Callum Ilott Prema +0.265s
5 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin +0.547s
6 Joel Eriksson Motopark +0.549s
7 Guan Yu Zhou Prema +0.689s
8 Jake Hughes Hitech +0.817s
9 Mick Schumacher Prema +0.820s
10 Joey Mawson VAR +0.891s
11 Nikita Mazepin Hitech +0.901s
12 Marino Sato Motopark +0.906s
13 Pedro Piquet VAR +1.037s
14 Maximilian Gunther Prema +1.199s
15 Kevyan Andres Sori Motopark +1.351s
16 Tadasuke Makino Hitech +1.465s
17 Ralf Aron Hitech +1.692s
18 David Beckmann VAR +1.789s
19 Harrison Newey VAR +13 438s