F2 2020: Bahrain Grand Prix – Friday

Formula Two returned from a two month break with the opening day of their two part finale as drivers battled for the first pole of two rounds in Bahrain. 

Nine drivers are still in with a shot of the title on a day which saw rain linger throughout Practice before clearing for Qualifying, whilst red flags disrupted both sessions and played a huge role in a title fight twist affecting one of the drivers primed for a F1 seat next season.

Now here is a full roundup of Friday’s F2 action across Practice and Qualifying which threw up mixed orders across both sessions.

 

Practice

Nikita Mazepin set the pace in F2 Bahrain Practice. (Image credit: Dan Istitene)

Start of F2 Practice experienced a five minute delay due to the late release of drivers from the support paddock with Jack Aitken, Giuliano Alesi and Louis Deletraz amongst the early drivers to head out for their opening stints, which saw a virtual safety car test held as is tradition to check the system over as rain lingered throughout the session.

Alesi soon proceeded to set the initial pace until HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov spun at Turn 15 to cause the first of two red flags which lasted five minutes each, stalling his car in the wrong direction only for it to then roll across the track into the inside barriers once Markelov had climbed out of the car.

Once the track went green again, ART’s Christian Lundgaard set the pace with a 1m 43.108 from teammate, Marcus Armstrong but Trident’s Marino Sato spun at the final corner like Markelov did, beaching his car on the kerb to cause another red flag.

Practice resumed five minutes later with Roy Nissany spinning on the exit of Turn Eight and almost collected one of the Carlin cars as he tried to find the correct direction to get going again, as Jehan Daruvala went fastest with a 1m 42.989 ahead of Lundgaard until Dan Ticktum trumped both just a minute later to go 0.023 seconds quicker than Daruvala’s best effort.

Daruvala however found time with 12 minutes left to improve to a 1m 42.782 but just four minutes later, title contender – Nikita Mazepin set a session topping time of 1m 42.660 to go 0.122s quicker than the Carlin driver.

Tsunoda eventually settled for third fastest ahead of Ticktum, Lundgaard, Luca Ghiotto, Robert Shwartzman, Guanyu Zhou, Felipe Drugovich and championship leader – Mick Schumacher who rounded out the top ten with 0.512s separating the drivers inside those positions.

UNI-Virtuosi’s Callum Ilott endured a quiet session as he set the 14th fastest time which was 0.831s slower than Mazepin’s pace but was just 0.319s off Schumacher’s best effort as Ilott looked to save his best for Qualifying in an attempt to trim his points deficit to 18 points if could get pole position.

 

Qualifying

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Drugovich led a frantic line of drivers desperate to hit the track whilst Ilott waited to create some clean space before joining the action, as Armstrong set the initial pace of a 1m 42.052 ahead of Drugovich and Ticktum until Ilott went top with a pole clinching time of 1m 41.479.

Third-placed title contender, Tsunoda meanwhile suffered a massive spin at Turn 13 after getting wide on the exit of Turn 12 and was unable to keep the engine fully running, ultimately triggering a red flag to end his session and leave the Japanese’s FIA Superlicense hopes hanging in the balance.

Once the session resumed, everyone headed back out for a final flier on their first set of tyres with Drugovich and Ticktum finding time to go second and third ahead of Armstrong and Zhou, whilst Schumacher found himself sat 12th ahead of the final runs.

Once everyone began their final fliers, Schumacher improved to sixth but eventually got displaced to tenth by Giuliano Alesi, Mazepin, Daruvala and Lundgaard in a frustrating dent to his title hopes as Ilott trimmed his deficit to 18 points with four points by virtue of his fifth pole of 2020.

Further down the order, Deletraz and Shwartzman qualified only 11th and 14th respectively whilst Ghiotto managed 20th at best to leave the trio’s title hopes hanging by a thread heading into Saturday’s Feature Race.

Alesi concluded the session early by stopping with a technical issue in the first sector which brought out the red flag with just over a minute left.

 

Results

Practice

Position Driver Team Time
1 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 1m 42.660
2 Jehan Daruvala Carlin + 0.122
3 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin + 0.258
4 Dan Ticktum DAMS + 0.305
5 Christian Lundgaard ART GP + 0.404
6 Luca Ghiotto Hitech GP + 0.419
7 Robert Shwartzman Prema + 0.440
8 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi + 0.468
9 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport + 0.482
10 Mick Schumacher Prema + 0.512
11 Marcus Armstrong ART GP + 0.541
12 Pedro Piquet Charouz + 0.610
13 Louis Deletraz Charouz + 0.830
14 Callum Ilott UNI-Virtuosi + 0.831
15 Giuliano Alesi MP Motorsport + 1.175
16 Jack Aitken Campos + 1.349
17 Theo Pourchaire HWA Racelab + 1.760
18 Roy Nissany Trident + 2.255
19 Guilherme Samaia Campos + 2.586
20 Sean Gelael DAMS + 17.590
Marino Sato Trident No Time Set
Artem Markelov HWA Racelab No Time Set

 

Qualifying

Position Driver Team Time
1 Callum Ilott UNI-Virtuosi 1m 41.479
2 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport + 0.391
3 Dan Ticktum DAMS + 0.568
4 Marcus Armstrong ART GP + 0.573
5 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi + 0.586
6 Giuliano Alesi MP Motorsport + 0.595
7 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP + 0.660
8 Jehan Daruvala Carlin + 0.712
9 Christian Lundgaard ART GP + 0.780
10 Mick Schumacher Prema + 0.804
11 Louis Deletraz Charouz + 0.837
12 Roy Nissany Trident + 0.859
13 Pedro Piquet Charouz + 1.002
14 Robert Shwartzman Prema + 1.175
15 Jack Aitken Campos + 1.369
16 Theo Pourchaire HWA Racelab + 1.488
17 Marino Sato Trident + 1.691
18 Sean Gelael DAMS + 1.712
19 Guilherme Samaia Campos + 1.807
20 Luca Ghiotto Hitech GP + 1.887
21 Artem Markelov HWA Racelab + 2.540
22 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin No Time Set

 

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