Juri Vips made the most of his previous experience on the new to FIA Formula 2 Mugello circuit to set the fastest time of the only practice session of the weekend.
All of the fastest times were set at the start of the session as tyre degradation proved to be a big factor from the early stages while everyone set about completing race runs on the Pirelli hard tyres.
There is a compound jump for this weekend meaning it’s the hard and soft tyres for F2 so no one attempted a qualifying simulation with the time delta proving too much for any reasonable data.
That meant Vips’ 1:31:474 was good enough to be the fastest time as he edged out Luca Ghiotto by less than a tenth with the main title contenders outside the top ten.
Mick Schumacher was the best of the main three championship chasers but was only twelfth having won the feature race at Monza a week ago. His PREMA teammate Robert Shwartzman dropped behind the German in the standings last week and he was right behind him again in thirteenth.
Callum Ilott inherited sprint race victory last time out after Dan Ticktum’s disqualification but he also struggled, only managing fourteenth for UNI-Virtuosi.
It was better news for the outsider Yuki Tsunoda who continued his great practice form in fourth just behind Felipe Drugovich who is expected to go well this weekend on his favoured hard tyres.
The race runs for many was scuppered when Jack Aitken locked up going into the final corner and skipped over the gravel trap into the tyre barrier which resulted in a lengthy virtual safety car as his Campos was retrieved.
His best time was still good enough for seventh however behind a seething Ticktum following the disqualification and Marino Sato’s Trident.
Two drivers who are even more outsiders than Tsunoda found themselves towards the back end of the top ten with Nikita Mazepin eighth from Christian Lundgaard. Both drivers are far from out of the fight but they do need to pick up more podiums and wins than they have been if they’re going to challenge.
Roy Nissany completed Trident’s encouraging start to the weekend ending the session tenth.
|2||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||1:31:563|
|3||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1:31:705|
|8||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||1:32:097|
|18||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||1:33:010|
|20||Guiliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||1:33:143|
|21||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||1:33:695|