Having topped the practice session earlier in the day, Yuki Tsunoda claimed the final FIA Formula 2 pole of 2020 as he looks to end a fantastic rookie season on a high.
It was a complete contrast to last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix where the Red Bull junior spun and lost power before setting a lap time meaning he had to start from the very back before a brilliant drive to sixth in the feature race.
He earned pole with a lap just over a tenth faster than 2021 Haas Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin who is the outsider in the title fight and needing a miracle to see himself lift the trophy.
The championship leader Mick Schumacher had a nightmare qualifying resulting in his worst of the year down in 18th position, leaving him a lot of work to do in the final two races of the year.
He had a dramatic end to his session as he tried to push on while the rest of the field backed off to cool their tyres. He tried to pass with Roy Nissany but he tried to take the racing line too soon and collided with the Israeli. The incident is under investigation.
His main title rival Callum Ilott had a better session but it was still below par for the Brit who has been so supreme on a Friday this season, he was ninth fastest but he will be happy to see his rival so far down the order.
Jehan Daruvala scored his first podium last weekend and he backed up that good result to take third on the grid ahead of Schumacher’s PREMA teammate Robert Shwartzman who may need to play a part to help his teammate wrap up the title.
Felipe Drugovich won the feature race one week ago and he had another good qualifying with fifth ahead of Christian Lundgaard and Artem Markelov who had his best qualifying of the season by far.
Dan Ticktum will start ahead of his fellow Brit Ilott in eighth with Louis Delétraz rounding out the top ten. Saturday’s feature race is one to not be missed.
|2||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||1:02:798|
|5||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1:02:841|
|7||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||1:02:947|
|14||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||1:03:166|
|16||Guiliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||1:03:194|
|17||Théo Pourchaire||HWA Racelab||1:03:228|