Lando Norris secured a superb maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the Briton giving Carlin a perfect present for their debut in the series.
The 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Champion clinched top spot by denying last years GP3 Series champion George Russell by 0.062 seconds, with his best lap of 1:41.761s coming with a little over three minutes remaining.
ART Grand Prix’s Russell had led the early stages despite his first quick lap being compromised by running wide at the final turn, and despite improving by half a second, could not deny Norris top spot.
DAMS’ Alexander Albon, a late addition to the Bahrain weekend, will start third on the grid, with the Thai driver ending just 0.089 seconds off the pole position lap of Norris, while Nyck de Vries will also start his first race with Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing on the second row of the grid.
Louis Delétraz gave the Charouz Racing System a great debut by putting his Dallara fifth overall, confirming that his impressive pre-season pace was true, while the Swiss racer will be joined on the third row of the grid by the second Carlin of Sergio Sette Camara.
Nirei Fukuzumi was another debutant to have an impressive first Qualifying session, with the BWT Arden driver set to start seventh ahead of fellow Japanese racer Tadasuke Makino of Russian Time, while ART Grand Prix’s Jack Aitken and BWT Arden’s Maximilian Gunther completed the top ten.
Two of the pre-season favourites, Nicholas Latifi and Artem Markelov, struggled, and will start Saturday’s Feature race from fifteenth and seventeenth on the grid respectively, although the latter was only 1.055 seconds off the pace, while the whole field was covered by just over one and a half seconds.
Bahrain International Circuit Qualifying Result
|2||8||George Russell||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:41.823|
|4||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:41.880|
|5||20||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Charouz Racing System||1:42.174|
|6||18||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Carlin||1:42.221|
|7||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||JAP||BWT Arden||1:42.246|
|8||2||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Russian Time||1:42.264|
|9||7||Jack Aitken||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:42.282|
|10||11||Maximilian Gunther||GER||BWT Arden||1:42.336|
|11||21||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Charouz Racing System||1:42.342|
|12||14||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:42.414|
|13||9||Roberto Merhi||ESP||MP Motorsport||1:42.423|
|16||10||Ralph Boschung||SWI||MP Motorsport||1:42.460|
|17||1||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||1:42.816|
|19||3||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:43.016|
|20||15||Roy Nissany||ISR||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:43.350|