Kush Maini continued Campos Racing’s strong third day of Formula 2 testing at Bahrain by topping the final pre-season session.
The Thursday evening session returned to the usual format of two-and-a-half hours of track time, with the day’s earlier session topped by Maini’s team-mate Ralph Boschung having run 45 minutes shorter.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor laid down the first benchmark lap, before ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire set a 1m42.923s. He improved by a hundredth of a second 16 minutes into the session, and that lap went unbeaten for some time.
Verschoor was initially 2.849s off Pourchaire’s pace, and improved by two tenths at the 22-minute mark. He remained in second until Trident’s Clement Novalak set a 1m43.524s towards the end of the first half-hour.
Novalak improved to get within 0.257s of Pourchaire after 48 minutes had passed, and there was then little action until the second hour of the evening session began and PHM Racing by Charouz sent its drivers on track for the first time.
Roy Nissany went fourth fastest straight away, then his team-mate Brad Benavides slotted into third. That left MP Motorsport as the only team yet to record any laptimes, but it sent out Dennis Hauger as the session went into its second half.
Both he and team-mate Jehan Daruvala were denied an opportunity to set flying laps as soon as they left the pits through due to double waved yellow flags at turn eight which soon turned into red flags as DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc was unable to get back to the pits.
Action resumed after only a short break, and Nissany went to the top with just under an hour left on the clock.
He set a 1m42.905s lap to move 0.008s ahead of Pourchaire, while Hauger and Daruvala finally showed their pace as they went fifth and sixth fastest.
The MP pair were shuffled down the order 10 minutes later as Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi (who had not yet lapped at a representative pace) and Zane Maloney improved to fourth and sixth place respectively.
A flurry of track activity meant there was even more change below the top three, with Benavides setting a 1m43.226s to go fourth fastest but then Hauger going 0.011s faster to take the position as Daruvala returned to sixth place.
Fittipaldi then broke into the 1m42s, 0.066s off top spot, to snatch third place on the timesheet and his team-mate in his wake improved to fourth.
Another red flag period followed, this time with Trident’s Roman Stanek being the culprit/victim, and once the session restarted again there was 24 minutes to go.
The only major change to the order in that time was courtesy of Maini, who came from outside the top 10 to go fastest by 0.282s with nine minutes remaining. Daruvala improved in ninth two minutes later, and Hauger returned to the top five in the final five minutes before he and much of the field returned to the pitlane for the final time.
Evening session results
|1||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||1m42.623s||34|
|2||Roy Nissany||PHM Racing by Charouz||1m42.905s||+0.282s||20|
|3||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||1m42.913s||+0.290s||45|
|5||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||1m43.020s||+0.397s||19|
|8||Brad Benavides||PHM Racing by Charouz||1m43.226s||+0.603s||23|
|9||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||1m43.300s||+0.677s||19|
|14||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1m46.718s||+4.095s||43|
|17||Victor Martins||ART GP||1m47.308s||+4.685s||45|
|18||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||1m47.436s||+4.813s||47|
|21||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||1m47.945s||+5.322s||51|
|22||Juan Manuel Correa||VAR||no time|