Rowland leads Markelov in first Formula 2 Practice of 2017


Oliver Rowland topped free practice in Bahrain - Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

Oliver Rowland set the fastest time in the first official free practice session of the new era of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday.

The British driver, racing this year for DAMS after switching from MP Motorsport, set a time of 1:42.221s to lead the twenty-car field, just under a tenth quicker than Russian Time’s Artem Markelov.

It was a great way for Rowland, the newly confirmed Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Development Driver to start the year, while Markelov began his fourth season with Russian Time in a strong way as well, just ahead of Ferrari Driver Academy members Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco, both of Prema Racing.

Norman Nato was fifth on his return to Arden, with Luca Ghiotto just behind in sixth in the second Russian Time car, while Rapax duo Nyck de Vries and Johnny Cecotto Jr were next up in seventh and eighth despite the former completing only six laps before stopping on track with just over twelve minutes remaining to cause a virtual safety car.

Nobuharu Matsushita was the leading ART Grand Prix driver in ninth, while Racing Engineering’s Gustav Malja completed the top ten ahead of MP Motorsport duo Sergio Sette Câmara and Jordan King.

Whereas practice took place under the blazing sunshine, qualifying will take place in cooler conditions on Friday evening, meaning practice may well have little bearing on what happens later in the day.

Bahrain International Circuit Free Practice Result

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIME
19Oliver RowlandGBRDAMS1:42.221
26Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time1:42.313
31Charles LeclercMONPrema Racing1:42.372
42Antonio FuocoITAPrema Racing1:42.381
520Norman NatoFRAPertamina Arden1:42.594
65Luca GhiottoITARussian Time1:42.715
718Nyck de VriesNEDRapax1:43.052
819Johnny Cecotto JrVENRapax1:43.146
97Nobuharu MatsushitaJAPART Grand Prix1:43.213
104Gustav MaljaSWERacing Engineering1:43.230
1114Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMP Motorsport1:43.260
1215Jordan KingGBRMP Motorsport1:43.265
1310Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS1:43.323
1421Sean GelaelINOPertamina Arden1:43.355
1511Ralph BoschungSWICampos Racing1:43.479
1612Stefano ColettiMONCampos Racing1:43.632
1716Nabil JeffriMAYTrident1:43.891
1817Sergio CanamasasITATrident1:43.958
193Louis DeletrazSWIRacing Engineering1:44.016
208Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix1:44.360