Home Featured Aron fastest, Bearman crashes out in F2’s Imola practice

Aron fastest, Bearman crashes out in F2’s Imola practice

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Hitech GP’s Paul Aron set the pace in Formula 2 practice at Imola, which ended seven minutes early due to Prema’s Ollie Bearman crashing out.

The track was quiet through the first seven minutes of a scheduled 45, with drivers only completing outlaps. When the first runs began properly, Bearman laid down a 1m31.334s as the first benchmark.

Campos Racing’s Isack Hadjar and Invicta Racing’s Gabriel Bortoleto beat it soon after, then Trident’s Roman Stanek lowered the pace further to 1m30.784s.

After 12 minutes all 22 drivers had set representative laptimes, with Virtuosi’s Kush Maini in third and Rodin Motorsport’s points leader Zane Maloney in fifth.

On Hadjar’s next lap he returned to the top with a 1m29.805s, leading MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger by 0.066 seconds and Stanek by 0.147s as Bortoleto also improved in fourth. That became seventh when MP’s Franco Colapinto became the third driver to break into the 1m29s and Maloney and Aron improved to fifth and sixth, then Bortoleto was shuffled down to ninth over the next few minutes as Maini and AIX Racing’s Joshua Duerksen went second and sixth fastest.

Approaching the 17-minute mark there was a flurry of improvements, and Hauger set a new 1m29.539s benchmark as Bearman rose to third and AIX’s Taylor Barnard slotted into fourth.

Maloney got within 0.088s of Hauger on his next lap, with Hadjar trailing top spot by 0.168s and Bortoleto by 0.184s. Colapinto was 0.097s slower than his team-mate as he ended his first run in third place, then the track became quiet as many pitted.

Bortoleto stayed out, and lowered the pace twice as the sesson entered its second half. A 1m28.923s put him 0.588s ahead of Aron, and that was margin was only trimmed to 0.525s by Hadjar when he returned to track.

Maloney improved with 14 minutes to go but stayed in sixth place, then Antonelli got within 0.469s of Bortoleto’s pace. Hadjar further decreased the gap to 0.235s with less than 12 minutes left on the clock, as Maloney improved again to climb to third.

Antonelli bettered Hadjar by 0.007s and Bearman went fifth fastest with 10-and-a-half minutes to go, then Aron set a 1m28.852s to finally topple Bortoleto.

Hadjar got back ahead of Antonelli with a 1m29.084s, only to be shuffled back to fourth by a 1m28.929s from Maloney who set his lap just before Bearman lost control of his car exiting the second apex of the Tamburello chicane and crashed out. Red flags waved immediately, and the session did not restart.

Bearman still ended practice in seventh, while Verschoor dropped to 19th after having his fastest lap deleted.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Paul Aron Hitech GP 1m28.852s 15
2 Gabriel Bortoleto Invicta Racing 1m28.923s +0.071s 15
3 Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport 1m28.929s +0.077s 17
4 Isack Hadjar Campos Racing 1m29.084s +0.232s 17
5 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 1m29.151s +0.299s 15
6 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m29.207s +0.355s 14
7 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m29.440 +0.588s 15
8 Kush Maini Invicta Racing 1m29.487s +0.635s 15
9 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport 1m29.509s +0.657s 16
10 Taylor Barnard AIX Racing 1m29.549s +0.697s 16
11 Roman Stanek Trident 1m29.562s +0.710s 17
12 Jak Crawford DAMS 1m29.594s +0.742s 16
13 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 1m29.620s +0.768s 16
14 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 1m29.646s +0.794s 17
15 Joshua Duerksen AIX Racing 1m29.711s +0.859s 17
16 Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix 1m29.719s +0.867s 17
17 Amaury Cordeel Hitech GP 1m29.765s +0.913s 14
18 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS 1m29.833s +0.981s 15
19 Richard Verschoor Trident 1m29.947s +1.095s 15
20 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing 1m30.020s +1.168s 16
21 Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport 1m30.089s +1.237s 15
22 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing 1m30.232s +1.380s 16