In the first free practice of the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing, 1m09.970s) claimed first place in the classification. At the 2.76 kilometres long Circuit de Pau, the German ended up ahead of Red Bull junior driver Daniel Ticktum (Motopark, 1m10.2016s), who was classified second. Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing, 1m10.324s), a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, came third ahead of the best-placed rookie Robert Shvartzman (PREMA Theodore Racing, 1m10.398s), who is also supported by the Ferrari Formula 1 team.
In bright sunshine, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship got its new season underway in Pau in the south of France. Mick Schumacher in particular coped best with the characteristics of the street circuit at the foot of the Pyrenees, which is known as a challenge, and posted some fast lap times, especially in the closing stages of the session. Thus, he initially moved up to the top of the ranking, only to lose it to Daniel Ticktum just a little later. Schumacher, however, countered successfully and again moved up into first place that he managed to hold on to until the end of the session.
Behind Schumacher, Ticktum and Zhou, who is already in his third season of racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Russian driver Robert Shvartzman, the best FIA Formula 3 European Championship rookie, was classified fourth. Next up were Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing, 1m10.416s) and Jüri Vips (Motopark, 1m10.441s), the latter being the second-best rookie. Force India protégé Jehan Daruvala (Carlin, 1m10.621s), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin, 1m10.661s) and the two rookies Marcus Armstrong (PREMA Theodore Racing, 1m10.773s) and Jonathan Aberdein (Motopark, 1m10.873s) rounded out the top ten.
Now, the next duty at hand for the young drivers and their teams is to analyse the collected data to ensure that they are ready for the battle for pole position in first qualifying, scheduled for 16.05 hrs today.