Jack Doohan ended Free Practice fastest of all ahead of Qualifying but there was almost nothing splitting him from Ayumu Iwasa, only 0.001s was the gap from the Virtuosi driver and the DAMS in P2. David Beckmann popped up into P3 for Van Amersfoort Racing, with the German driver being the only one to improve in the final 10 minutes.
Track temperatures were quickly rising as cars took to the track. A brief yellow flag was shown for a hare dashing across the circuit on the main straight but things remained as normal with 38 minutes left.
Birthday boy, Marcus Armstrong was the first to set a representative time to go fastest early on. That lasted until Theo Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti made it an ART Grand Prix 1-2.
Ayumu Iwasa left the rest of the Formula 2 in the dust as he stormed his way to his first pole position in the Championship. A blistering quick 1:27.930 set in the final few minutes of qualifying allowed him to better his nearest rival HiTech Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong, by an astonishing 0.381s, while Felipe Drugovich narrowly pipped Theo Pourchaire.
Few drivers improved on their second runs, as Logan Sargeant opted to peel into off into the pits rather than set a second time. Olli Caldwell was the sole driver to run in the gap. This seemed to be a smart strategy for the Campos driver who leapt up from P16 to P1.
However, it was Iwasa’s final run on his second set of softs that proved to be the making of his weekend. Whilst Armstrong failed to improve, the Japanese rookie turned the timing screens purple.
The full top 10 are- P1: Iwasa, P2: Armstrong, P3: Drugovich, P4: Pourchaire, P5: Sargeant, P6: Vips, P7: Vesti, P8: Hauger, P9: Fittipaldi and P10: Doohan.
Fittipaldi aced his launch from second to take the lead in the opening metres from Doohan. A huge lock up at Turn 2 though undid his hard work and allowed the Virtusoi Racing driver to snatch the lead back.
Meanwhile, Dennis Hauger endured a poor getaway and went three wide with Drugovich and Sargeant. Contact between the MP Motorsport and Carlin pair nudged the American into Hauger on the outside, tipping the Norwegian around and out of the race at Turn 1. Sargeant was also out of the race as a result of the contact, retiring from the pits.
The action resumed heading onto Lap 4, and Doohan bolted early to leave the rest behind. Theo Pourchaire had dropped down to 16th on the opening lap after having to avoid action from the Turn 1 melee around the outside of the corner.
Jehan Daruvala reported that his front tyres were already gone by lap 11, and the pressure from Marcus Armstrong behind was proof of that. The Hitech Grand Prix dirver shaped for a move into Turn 1, but the PREMA driver slammed the door shut to hold sixth for the time being.
The full top 10 are- P1: Doohan, P2: Vips, P3: Fittipaldi, P4: Drugovich, P5: Vesti, P6: Lawson, P7: Armstrong, P8: Iwasa, P9: Pourchaire and P10: Caldwell.