Arjun Maini set the best time of the opening free practice session of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship season around the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday as the top sixteen were all covered by less than a second.
Maini, a development driver for the Haas F1 Team, put his Trident machine up front with a lap of 1:44.549s despite missing the first half of the session, with the Indian edging out Carlin’s Lando Norris by 0.051 seconds, with the second Carlin of Sergio Sette Câmara third, a further 0.053 seconds down.
Alexander Albon, who was confirmed to race for DAMS earlier this week albeit just for Bahrain, was fourth, 0.220 seconds behind Maini, while 2017 GP3 Series champion George Russell was fifth for ART Grand Prix, 0.043 seconds behind Albon.
Artem Markelov, who finished as runner-up in the 2017 championship, was sixth for Russian Time ahead of Roberto Merhi of MP Motorsport, with the Spaniard being the last driver to be confirmed to race this weekend on Thursday.
Maximilian Gunther was the leading BWT Arden driver in eighth, with Antonio Fuoco ninth for Charouz Racing System, a team making their debut in the championship after switching from the now-defunct World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship.
Sean Gelael rounded out the top ten for Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing, just 0.665 seconds off the pace, with Jack Aitken of ART Grand Prix and Nicholas Latifi of DAMS eleventh and twelfth respectively.
Bahrain International Circuit Free Practice Result
|3||18||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Carlin||1:44.613|
|5||8||George Russell||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:44.812|
|6||1||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||1:44.861|
|7||9||Roberto Merhi||ESP||MP Motorsport||1:45.005|
|8||11||Maximilian Gunther||GER||BWT Arden||1:45.010|
|9||21||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Charouz Racing System||1:45.080|
|10||3||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:45.214|
|11||7||Jack Aitken||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:45.268|
|13||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:45.329|
|14||2||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Russian Time||1:45.331|
|15||14||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:45.344|
|17||10||Ralph Boschung||SWI||MP Motorsport||1:45.564|
|18||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||JAP||BWT Arden||1:45.849|
|19||20||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Charouz Racing System||1:45.958|
|20||15||Roy Nissany||ISR||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:46.407|