Maini Edges Norris in Opening Free Practice of 2018 in Bahrain

Arjun Maini topped practice in Bahrain
Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images

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

116Arjun MainiINDTrident1:44.549
219Lando NorrisGBRCarlin1:44.600
318Sergio Sette CamaraBRZCarlin1:44.613
45Alexander AlbonTHADAMS1:44.769
58George RussellGBRART Grand Prix1:44.812
61Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time1:44.861
79Roberto MerhiESPMP Motorsport1:45.005
811Maximilian GuntherGERBWT Arden1:45.010
921Antonio FuocoITACharouz Racing System1:45.080
103Sean GelaelINOPertamina Prema Theodore Racing1:45.214
117Jack AitkenGBRART Grand Prix1:45.268
126Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS1:45.291
134Nyck de VriesNEDPertamina Prema Theodore Racing1:45.329
142Tadasuke MakinoJAPRussian Time1:45.331
1514Luca GhiottoITACampos Vexatec Racing1:45.344
1617Santino FerrucciUSATrident1:45.419
1710Ralph BoschungSWIMP Motorsport1:45.564
1812Nirei FukuzumiJAPBWT Arden1:45.849
1920Louis DeletrazSWICharouz Racing System1:45.958
2015Roy NissanyISRCampos Vexatec Racing1:46.407