Dean Stoneman topped the timesheets in the Friday practice session for the FIA Formula 2 Championship, in such a tight session where the top 6 drivers were separated by just 0.2s. Stoneman stayed top even after managing to tap the barriers at Stirling’s following his flying lap and recover to the pits.
Tom Gladdis continued his impressive Formula 2 return, to finish second behind Stoneman, demoting Austrian Philipp Eng, with a late effort. Eng needs a decent points haul this weekend, to reign in Jolyon Palmer and Stoneman at the top of the Championship. Russian Sergey Afanasiev finished in 4th, and then went onto declare that his performance was “too slow”,which should bode well considering he was only 0.1s off the ultimate pace. Afanasiev finished ahead of fellow countryman Ivan Samarin, who scored his best practice result of the season so far in fifth.
Zolder race winner Benjamin Bailly finished in sixth, ahead of Briton Will Bratt, who was surprisingly slower than the dominant form he showed in Tuesday’s test. The rest of the field were just as close together as the top six, as Armaan Ebrahim pipped Jack Clarke by 0.007s, and Ricardo Teixeira rounded out the top ten.
Mihai Marinescu, Kazim Vasiliauskas and Julian Theobald were eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth respectively, which meant the first thirteen drivers were separated by less than one second. Championship leader Jolyon Palmer could only manage a disappointing fourteenth as he recovered from an excursion into the gravel at Graham Hill Bend.