Champion-elect Charles Leclerc secured a record-breaking eighth pole position of the season as he took top spot for the FIA Formula 2 Championship Feature race at the Circuito de Jerez.
The Monegasque driver, who has been strongly linked to a promotion to Formula 1 in 2018 with the Sauber F1 Team, is fifty-nine points clear of Oliver Rowland heading into this weekends race in Spain, which is being held as a stand-alone round rather than its usual support of Formula 1.
Leclerc put his Prema Racing machine at the top of the timing screens with his final lap of the session, with his 1:24.682s denying Luca Ghiotto of Russian Time by 0.260 seconds.
“I’m very happy about the eighth pole position of the season and breaking the record number of poles during one year,” said Leclerc after the session, with the previous record of seven being held by Stoffel Vandoorne.
“We need to focus on the feature race because it will be very important: I think we can bring the title home tomorrow but we need to get it right from the start. Jerez is a track where it’s hard to overtake.
“I will try to do my best to stay in the lead and work from there…”
Sergio Sette Câmara will start an excellent third for MP Motorsport, although his best lap was 0.575 seconds off of Leclerc’s best, with the Brazilian being joined on the front row by DAMS’ Rowland, who will be fighting to avoid losing out on the championship to Leclerc this weekend.
Artem Markelov, currently third in the standings, only seven points behind Rowland, will start the Feature race from fifth on the grid in the second Russian Time entry, with ART Grand Prix duo Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita sixth and seventh.
Nyck de Vries will start eighth for Racing Engineering, with the top ten being completed by DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi and Pertamina Arden’s Norman Nato, with the top fourteen all being covered by less than one-second.
Circuito de Jerez Qualifying Result
|1||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||1:24.682|
|2||5||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Russian Time||1:24.942|
|3||14||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||MP Motorsport||1:25.257|
|5||6||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||1:25.422|
|6||8||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||1:25.426|
|7||7||Nobuharu Matsushita||JAP||ART Grand Prix||1:25.450|
|8||3||Nyck de Vries||NED||Racing Engineering||1:25.470|
|10||20||Norman Nato||FRA||Pertamina Arden||1:25.583|
|11||12||Alex Palou||ESP||Campos Racing||1:25.600|
|14||15||Jordan King||GBR||MP Motorsport||1:25.653|
|15||2||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Racing||1:25.738|
|16||4||Gustav Malja||SWE||Racing Engineering||1:25.916|
|19||21||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Arden||1:26.163|
|20||11||Ralph Boschung||SWI||Campos Racing||1:26.647|