Robert Shwartzman needs to start out-scoring his FIA Formula 2 title rival Callum Ilott in his quest for the championship and he started his Belgian Grand Prix weekend in the perfect way by ending practice as the man to beat.
The Russian, backed by SMP Racing, started the season as the championship leader but some torrid form and luck at the Silverstone double header led to Ilott taking the lead from him. But this has to be the time for Shwartzman to regain momentum heading into the second half of the season.
He was two tenths clear of Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda who knows that there is a potential seat in F1 with AlphaTauri with his name on it if he can deliver the goods for Dr. Helmut Marko and the Red Bull bosses.
Tsunoda is a race winner in 2020 as is Nikita Mazepin and Felipe Drugovich who were third and fourth fastest. Both drivers have shown huge improvements this season and are probably up there as the biggest surprises so far.
Tsunoda’s teammate Jehan Daruvala hasn’t hit the heights of the Japanese driver but fifth will be encouraging for the Indian who was very quick here last year in Formula 3.
Jack Aitken was sixth quickest for Campos ahead of Mick Schumacher who may be concerned at the six tenths gap to his teammate at the top.
Luca Ghiotto completed a good session for Hitech GP in eighth ahead of Louis Delétraz and Ilott. UNI-Virtuosi’s apparent lack of speed may be a worry for the Brit with his teammate Guanyu Zhou down in thirteenth.
This weekend marks one year since Anthoine Hubert was killed in a horrific crash at Raidillon in the feature race which is something no one racing that day will ever forget. All drivers across F1, F2 and F3 carry Hubert’s logo as a tribute to the Frenchman this weekend. What will be a difficult weekend for Formula 2 in particular will be made slightly easier as Juan Manuel Correa is track side for the first time since that crash that caused him severe injuries.
Guiliano Alesi’s session was finished almost before it began as he spun trying to warm up his tyres as he exited the pit lane and hit the barrier on the run towards Eau Rouge. He pulled his HWA Racelab car over at the top of the hill and ended his practice immediately in bringing out a red flag.
Dan Ticktum also didn’t set a time and won’t run in qualifying either after he returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test. That adds further headaches for the DAMS team who have Juri Vips replacing the injured Sean Gelael for the next three rounds. The Estonian was a race winner in Formula 3 last year and ended his first session on Formula 2 in seventeenth.
|3||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||1:58:465|
|4||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1:58:510|
|8||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||1:58:945|
|12||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||1:59:082|
|19||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||1:59:995|
|21||Guiliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||NO TIME|
|22||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||NO TIME|