Home Featured Antonelli jubilant with his F2 qualifying as Bearman rues technical issue

Antonelli jubilant with his F2 qualifying as Bearman rues technical issue

by Ida Wood

Photo: Prema

Andrea Kimi Antonelli was second fastest in Formula 2’s Melbourne qualifying, while Prema team-mate Ollie Bearman struggled to 16th place.

Two weeks ago Bearman set the qualifying pace in Jeddah. This time he only managed to complete two flying laps and was 1.532 seconds slower than his rookie team-mate.

“It was a really difficult qualifying session. I struggled to get a good feeling with the tyre on set one, but I felt we sorted it for set two. Unfortunately, we were quite unlucky with a red flag in the first lap and a technical problem in the second, which meant I could not complete the lap,” revealed Bearman.

“It’s a shame, because honestly it was looking like a good one, fighting maybe not for pole, but at least for the top three. A bit disappointed, but we will do our best tomorrow and on Sunday.”

All three of Antonelli’s personal best sector times came on his final flying lap, while Bearman’s came on different laps. On Bearman’s last lap he was 0.056s slower than Antonelli after sector two but he did not get to complete the lap. His theoretical best laptime would have been 0.647s slower than Antonelli’s, and would still leave him outside the top 10.

Although jubilant to be on the front row, Antonelli thought he had plenty of room for improvement.

“It was a headache of a session, with all the red and yellow flags. So it was really messy. Really hard also to get the lap right. But overall I’m really happy about the session,” he said.

“Still trying to find the limit during the quali lap, still doing some work. I still have some room for improvement, of course. But I was happy to bring home the last lap and to be on the front row.”

The Melbourne newcomer said “after practice I felt quite confident, because I was able to get up to speed very quick” and felt he and Prema “did a really good job” to set up his car for qualifying.

Antonelli’s deficit to pole was 0.344s, larger than the gap in Jeddah where he qualified sixth, and he thought he “could have been closer” to Dennis Hauger’s pole time.

“One thing that was really difficult during the session with the warm-up. It was really hard to get the tyres into the window. Especially because with all the red flags, the pack was really very close. So especially last sector, it was really hard to keep up the temperature. And I think I could have done a bit better job on the warm-up, up until that last sector, because when I started the lap the tyre didn’t feel ready.”

He added: “In my lap, I went over the limit in some parts, just because I was really trying to get to the limit. But unluckily I went a bit over. So there was a bit of room in improvement, but I don’t know if it would’ve been good enough for pole.”