The Purple Bull junior, who joined the reigning champions from Hitech Grand Prix for 2021, led the sphere with a time of 1m33.596s on Friday morning on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
He was adopted by rookie Victor Martins, one of many two Alpine Academy members driving for MP Motorsports, who set a time of 1m33.811s, and ART GP’s Frederik Vesti, who has joined the Mercedes academy, with a 1m33.871s.
Hauger’s team-mate Arthur Leclerc, a Ferrari Driver Academy member and youthful brother of System 1 driver Charles, got here fourth with a 1m33.923s.
ART GP’s Alexander Smolyar completed off the highest 5, with the Russian driver, who’s returning for a second yr in F3, setting a time of 1m33.934s.
Simply 12 minutes into the season opener, the apply session was red-flagged after Carlin’s Jonny Edgar encountered points, briefly stopping on the observe earlier than managing to get the automobile going once more and heading again to the pits.
It was restarted a couple of minutes later, with Carlin’s Ido Cohen setting a 1m35.163s to kick off the timed laps, earlier than 9 different drivers set instances in fast succession.
Prema led the pack in a 1-2-Three midway by way of the session, however have been rapidly caught by Martins and Vesti – each tipped as early favourites for the drivers’ championship title.
Highest positioned returning driver Logan Sargeant, who has switched from Prema to Charouz Racing System for this season, got here seventh, with a time of 1m34.129s.
Juan Manuel Correa, returning to the game 18 months after surviving a tragic a number of automobile System 2 crash at Spa in 2019 that claimed the lifetime of Anthoine Hubert, set a quickest time of 1m35.102s, putting him 23rd.
Following the session, the stewards are investigating an unsafe launch incident between Smolyar and Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick when the session was restarted after the crimson flag.
This afternoon’s qualifying will set the grid for Sunday’s race, whereas tomorrow’s first race will probably be determined by reversing the highest 12.
The highest 12 of that race will probably be reversed for the second race on Saturday afternoon.