With a fierce title fight raging, Formula Two headed to Sochi, Russia, for the tenth round of the 2020 season as Yuki Tsunoda took pole position to boost his fading title hopes after dramatic Practice and Qualifying sessions.
This round also served as the home event for Nikita Mazepin, Artem Markelov and Robert Shwartzman as the trio all looked for a home boost in their perspective championship battles.
A quiet start to session saw drivers embark on several warm up or installation laps with Robert Shwartzman providing the early drama, spinning out of the final corner after Nikita Mazepin went fastest.
Jehan Daruvala soon found himself fastest with a 1m 49.741 from Luca Ghiotto in a frantic ten minute spell as everyone began to find time on each flying lap, although the Italian eventually posted a session topping 1m 49.631 in the 20th minute.
Yuki Tsunoda demoted Daruvala down to third just five minutes later with a 1m 49.712 as Christian Lundgaard, Callum Ilott, Mazepin, Pedro Piquet, Mick Schumacher, Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum rounded out the top ten.
Title contender, Robert Shwartzman found himself 12th quickest and 1.030 seconds off Ghiotto’s pace and 0.330s slower than Prema teammate plus Championship leader – Schumacher who was 0.700s off the Italian’s session topping lap time.
F2 debutant, Jake Hughes ended Practice in 20th position but just 0.112s off HWA Racelab teammate, Artem Markelov, whilst Giuliano Alesi begun life at MP Motorsport in 18th position following his switch from the German team after Nobuharu Matsushita’s surprise exit.
Finally, there was late drama as Marino Sato came to a halt on exit of Turn Two to trigger a brief Virtual Safety Car before Ghiotto brought the session to an early end after he suffered a spin at final corner, only to stall his Hitech when trying a half doughnut to get himself back going again.
Schumacher was first out on track ahead of his Russian Prema teammate, Shwartzman, although it would be the latter who would initially set the faster time by 0.290s with a 1m 49.634 on their opening fliers.
Daruvala however took top spot by 0.108s just minutes later whilst Ilott, Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou all encountered traffic during their opening runs, although it would be Daruvala who led at the halfway mark with a 1m 49.068 from Tsunoda, Mazepin, Shwartzman and Schumacher.
Hughes meanwhile found himself sat in ninth after his opening run before eventually finishing 15th and and 0.526s faster than HWA Racelab teammate, Markelov who only qualified 20th on the grid.
Several drivers managed to find time on the opening laps of their final runs as third was traded from Shwartzman to Schumacher then Ilott before Schumacher eventually bettered his title rival’s time for third, whilst Ghiotto clinched fifth ahead of Lundgaard and Shwartzman who complete the top seven ahead of Jack Aitken, Zhou and Mazepin.
Tsunoda however snatched pole at the death with a 1m 48.688 from Daruvala who almost responded but fell just 0.006s short of his Carlin teammate, as Tsunoda reduced his points deficit over Schumacher to just 34 points with the top six title contenders qualified within the top ten ahead of what could be a decisive Feature Race in terms of the title fight.
|1||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||1m 49.631|
|2||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||+ 0.081|
|3||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||+ 0.110|
|4||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||+ 0.227|
|5||Callum Ilott||UNI-Virtuosi||+ 0.322|
|6||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||+ 0.328|
|7||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||+ 0.368|
|8||Mick Schumacher||Prema||+ 0.700|
|9||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||+ 0.756|
|10||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||+ 0.860|
|11||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+ 1.012|
|12||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||+ 1.030|
|13||Juri Vips||DAMS||+ 1.088|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||+ 1.170|
|15||Marino Sato||Trident||+ 1.241|
|16||Jack Aitken||Campos||+ 1.251|
|17||Roy Nissany||Trident||+ 1.263|
|18||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||+ 1.581|
|19||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+ 1.778|
|20||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+ 1.890|
|21||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||+ 1.976|
|22||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+ 2.680|
|1||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||1m 48.688|
|2||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||+ 0.006|
|3||Mick Schumacher||Prema||+ 0.195|
|4||Callum Ilott||UNI-Virtuosi||+ 0.359|
|5||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||+ 0.542|
|6||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||+ 0.564|
|7||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||+ 0.596|
|8||Jack Aitken||Campos||+ 0.618|
|9||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||+ 0.623|
|10||Nikita Mazepin||ART GP||+ 0.786|
|11||Juri Vips||DAMS||+ 0.951|
|12||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||+ 0.992|
|13||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||+ 1.011|
|14||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||+ 1.181|
|15||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||+ 1.274|
|16||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+ 1.288|
|17||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||+ 1.526|
|18||Marino Sato||Trident||+ 1.661|
|19||Roy Nissany||Trident||+ 1.768|
|20||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+ 1.800|
|21||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||+ 2.255|
|22||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+ 2.687|