Prema’s Ollie Bearman claimed the second pole of his rookie Formula 2 season at Barcelona, and explained to Formula Scout the strategy that helped him earn it.
Each team opted for different timings of their qualifying runs, with a change of tyres between run, and Prema left it late to send out Bearman and team-mate Frederik Vesti.
“It’s a lovely result. So nice to get another pole position, especially after the difficulty we had in Monaco,” he said, before explaining Prema’s strategy.
“The target is to have a warm-up without any cars around you, because for sure that brings some better tyre preparation. It’s a bit risky, but we saw we had good pace in free practice, so we decided to go with the risk.
“For me it’s a bit scary, because by the time you did your first set, a lot of people already did their second set. You know what laptime you’re aiming for, and you know you need to go for it.
“But you’re also P12 or something, you know which position you are before you start the final run. So that from side, it’s a bit scary. But for pure performance it was a good approach.”
It resulted pole by 0.077 seconds, marking an instant bounceback after qualifying 16th in Monaco last weekend.
“Monaco, it’s a bit of a unique one,” said Bearman. “I was not missing pace, because we saw on Sunday I was one of the fastest on track.
“Just my mistake on Thursday [crashing at Portier], and a bit of bad luck on Friday [in qualifying] compounded. I knew it wasn’t a case that we are missing pace, which kind of makes it even more annoying because we knew we could do it.
“So I didn’t put any pressure on myself, I just wanted to do a solid Friday this weekend. So far we’ve managed that. I’ve had a really good car underneath me for the last three of four races now, so I’m super happy with how everything’s going.”
Bearman came very close to exceeding track limits on his pole lap, only realising after seeing pictures afterwards.
“I think from the car it felt like I had loads of room. It certainly wasn’t the case, but it’s a quali lap, you have to give it everything,” he said to media.
“It was a decent lap. They’re never perfect. We’ve had like three push laps today, so there’s always places where you’re like ‘oh, I could have found a bit more time there’, but it’s just about putting it all together.”
Vesti led Bearman in practice, but qualified 0.463s behind in eighth place.
“It was close in practice. He did a really good lap,” Bearman noted. “I was not driving his car, but I just think sometimes you miss the feeling, and not able to put that up together. No doubt we had a strong car today, but it’s like that sometimes, you don’t maximise what you’ve got.
“But Fred’s been doing a really good job this year. Last three races we’ve had three poles as a team, so that’s good.”