On the previous Friday, Formula 3 was the first to experience the difficult conditions at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where it rained from the start of the day. The only free practice that the F3 drivers completed in the run-up to qualifying was therefore chaotic with various red flag situations. At 4 p.m. the drivers were allowed to report back to the asphalt, this time to determine the starting grid for the main race on Sunday. And just like in free practice, the conditions at the beginning of qualifying would be very difficult.
The damp asphalt meant that the drivers all started with a set of rain tires at the start of the 30-minute session. All 30 riders hit the tarmac almost immediately for a first serious run, which consisted of several timed laps. Isack Hadjar set a strong 1.44.383 on his first lap to hold the top spot for the first ten minutes of qualifying. The Red Bull Junior then had to give up the lead to MP Motorsport driver Caio Collet, whereupon Arthur Leclerc set the best time of the first races with an acceleration to 1:43.904. This would see the Prema driver, the younger brother of Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc, start the second and decisive race as the fastest man.
After the free practice sessions of Formula 1 and Formula 2, a somewhat drier line had already developed in Imola, and this naturally raised the question of whether there would be drivers who would dare to run the second race on slicks. Most riders didn’t want to take that risk, so the first improvements were made to a new set of rain tires. Leclerc set some of his fastest times, after which teammate Oliver Bearman took first place with a 1.43.401. ART riders Gregoire Saucy and Victor Martins also settled into P1 before Roman Stanek took the lead with a 1.43.162. He also held that position when a collision between Leclerc and debutant Enzo Trulli resulted in a code red with about six minutes remaining on the clock.
Despite the increasingly present dry line, the drivers opted for safety when qualifying resumed by going out on wet tires again. That dry line, however, caused a big shift in the result, with Stanek’s previous best time eventually resulting in 17th on the grid. The Czech was able to improve significantly, but pole position went to Trident teammate Zane Maloney. With a 1.41.180, the Barbadian driver was a tenth quicker than Stanek and took his maiden Formula 3 pole. They were followed by Jak Crawford and Saucy in third and fourth place. Bearman finished in fifth place ahead of Victor Martin, Hadjar, Zak O’Sullivan, Collet and Kush Maini in tenth place.