Dean Stoneman continued his form that saw him lead practice Friday morning to take pole position for race 1 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Brands Hatch. Provisional Pole was held by Jack Clarke for most of the session, only 0.001s ahead of Sergey Afanasiev, but after the field had stopped for fresh rubber Stoneman blitzed to the front, with a time of 1:15.758s, a staggering 1.2s faster than last years pole time.
Stoneman will be hoping to score maximum points, and capitalise on championship rival Jolyon Palmer’s poor qualifing performance down in seventh. Sergey Afanasiev will line up on the front row, after also jumping Clarke late on in the session to finish just over 0.4s behind Stoneman. Clarke held on for third despite a red flag period caused by Plamen Kralev’s spin late on in the session. The green flags came out with two minutes left on the clock, but on cold tyres no-one was able to improve their time before the end of the session.
Fellow countryman Will Bratt will be on row 2 with Clarke having finished just 0.033s off his lap time. Tom Gladdis maintained his impressive form to clinch fifth in his first qualifying since Silverstone, which also marked his best ever qualifying result in international racing. Ivan Samarin put in a personal best grid position, lining up in sixth. Championship leader Jolyon Palmer qualified seventh, meaning all five Brits will start within the top seven.
Philipp Eng couldn’t pull off a repeat of 2009 and gain pole position and the Austrian will start tomorrow in eighth.Kazim Vasiliauskas and Nicola De Marco round out the top ten. Ricardo Teixeira and Armaan Ebrahim start in eleventh and twelfth, with the top twelve being separated by and incredible 0.7s. Benjamin Bailly was the notable absentee from the top ten with the Belgian managing only 16th on the grid after recovering from an early trip through the gravel at Graham Hill Bend.