Nyck de Vries stormed to his first pole position of his FIA Formula 2 championship career on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps despite having his first timed effort deleted for exceeding track limits.
The Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing driver had earlier topped the sole free practice session of the weekend at Spa and hit the front early with a time of 1:56.450, only for him to have the time wiped off the timing screens for track limits.
However, de Vries saved his best for his second run with a 1:56.054, which was more than four-tenths of a second better than anyone else could muster, with championship leader George Russell the best of the rest for ART Grand Prix thanks to his time of 1:56.457.
Sergio Sette Câmara will line-up third on the grid for Saturday’s Feature race, with the Brazilian just over a tenth of a second behind Russell in his Carlin machine, while Luca Ghiotto made it four different teams inside the top four, the Italian putting his Campos Vextatec Racing into fourth with a time of 1:56.611.
Lando Norris, Russell’s closest challenger in the standings, will start fifth for Carlin, although he was forced to stop on track just after the chequered flag fell at Pouhon, while DAMS’ Alexander Albon was sixth ahead of Charouz Racing System’s Antonio Fuoco, who was another to stop on track late in the session, this time on the Kemmel Straight. Obviously, if either of these stoppages are fuel related, Norris and/or Fuoco could find themselves at the back of the field on Saturday.
Eighth in the session was BWT Arden’s Nirei Fukuzumi, his best Qualifying performance of the season so far, with Charouz’s Louis Delétraz and Russian Time’s Artem Markelov completing the top ten.
The championships two most recent additions, Alessio Lorandi and Dorian Boccolacci, were at the back of the field. Lorandi, who joined the grid last time out at the Hungaroring, was nineteenth for Trident, while Boccolacci, who has replaced Roberto Merhi at MP Motorsport from this weekend, was twentieth as he continued to get to grips with the F2 car after stepping up from the GP3 Series.
But no one had an answer for de Vries, who will go into the Feature race looking for his third victory of the season and a big boost in the championship standings, sitting as he does in fifth place with only the races in Belgium, Italy, Russia and Abu Dhabi to go.
Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying Result
|1||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:56.054|
|2||8||George Russell||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:56.457|
|3||18||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Carlin||1:56.594|
|4||14||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:56.611|
|7||21||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Charouz Racing System||1:56.930|
|8||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||JAP||BWT Arden||1:57.169|
|9||20||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Charouz Racing System||1:57.183|
|10||1||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||1:57.266|
|11||2||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Russian Time||1:57.394|
|13||10||Ralph Boschung||SWI||MP Motorsport||1:57.596|
|14||11||Maximilian Gunther||GER||BWT Arden||1:57.635|
|16||7||Jack Aitken||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:57.754|
|17||15||Roy Nissany||ISR||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:57.773|
|18||3||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:57.878|
|20||9||Dorian Boccolacci||FRA||MP Motorsport||1:58.338|