Our first day of having Formula 2 cars back on track today and I don’t think we was disappointed. All 22 cars took to the new track in Saudi Arabia with 4 of the drivers moving up from Formula 3.
We had a bit of a delay to the start of our Friday due to temporary operational delays but once we got started it was Armstrong who led the grid out onto the 46 degree track!
Twenty of the drivers went back into the pits after the installations but both MP drivers Novalak and Doohan went round the circuit for another lap to get to terms with the car/grip of the track.
One of the four debutants didn’t have the best afternoon, Logan Sargeant lost control of his HWA in Sector 3 where he collided with the wall which caused a Red Flag.
PREMA are just on fire this season but it being their other driver Robert Shwartzman who topped free practice with a 1:42.623 ahead of Ralph Boschung and Carlin’s Dan Ticktum.
The full top 10 were: P1: Shwartzman, P2: Boschung, P3: Ticktum, P4: Drugovich, P5: Armstrong, P6: Vips, P7: Zhou, P8: Doohan, P9: Lundgaard, P10: Piastri.
WOW, the amount of close calls I saw during the Qualifying session I had to hold my breath, this track is something else…
Moving on to the result of qualifying, Oscar Piastri lapped a 1:40.878 so he claims his FOURTH pole in a row he is now the only second driver to do this! His team-mate Shwartzman will be starting next to him on Sundays Feature Race.
It looked like Shwartzman had pole position during the majority of qualifying as no-one was improving their times until Pourchaire came all along and took it off him, but the Russian came fighting back and got pole position again.
Zhou had been struggling quite a bit during this session, it may be because of temperature and getting the heat into tyres? The first half of the session he was down in 9th but once he pitted and came out with fresh tyres he managed to get 3rd on his first run.
The top 10 for Sundays Feature Race are as follows: P1: Piastri, P2: Shwartzman, P3: Pourchaire, P4: Lundgaard, P5: Drugovich, P6: Zhou, P7: Boschung, P8: Vips, P9: Armstrong, P10: Lawson.
So for tomorrows first Sprint Race we have Liam Lawson on pole position with Marcus Armstrong in second and Lawson’s team-mate Juri Vips in third!