Home Featured Doohan dominates first F2 session in Melbourne amid three red flags

Doohan dominates first F2 session in Melbourne amid three red flags

by Peter Allen

Home favourite Jack Doohan dominated Formula 2’s first ever session in Australia as three red flags interrupted practice in Melbourne.

Starting his first race weekend on home soil, Virtuosi driver Doohan took advantage of his position at the head of the field to consistently lower the benchmark.

The drivers lost around a third of the 45 minutes of running to red flags as they all got to grips with the Albert Park circuit.

Roy Nissany was the first to be caught out, dipping his left-rear wheel onto the grass on entry to the final corner and spinning into the outside wall. It took more than 10 minutes for his car to be recovered and for the session to resume.

Hitech’s young pair of Red Bull-backed rookies Isack Hadjar and Jak Crawford took over from Doohan at the top of the times before the next red flag was triggered when Jehan Daruvala made a similar error to Nissany, this time spinning into the inside of the track and straddling the pit entrance.

Twelves minutes remained at the restart, after which Doohan reclaimed first place. Hadjar and Crawford both improved but remained second and third, the former just 0.009s off Doohan’s time.

Alpine junior Doohan then improved by nine tenths on his next attempt, and found a further quarter of a second in the closing minutes of the session to become the first and only driver to enter the 1m28s.

The entire field behind him improved their times before Ollie Bearman triggered the third and final red flag when he lost control entering turn one and slid onto the grass.

Hadjar finished up second, with fellow rookie Victor Martins third ahead of Crawford to split the otherwise seemingly inseparable Hitech duo.

Just before his off, Bearman clocked the sixth best time, behind Enzo Fittipaldi and ahead of two more Red Bull juniors, Ayumu Iwasa and Zane Maloney. Championship leader Ralph Boschung was 10th behind Richard Verschoor, with Theo Pourchaire 14th.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Jack Doohan Virtuosi Racing 1m28.989s 17
2 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m29.302s +0.313s 16
3 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 1m29.312s +0.323s 16
4 Jak Crawford Hitech GP 1m29.379s +0.390s 17
5 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin 1m29.465s +0.476s 17
6 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m29.562s +0.573s 15
7 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m29.585s +0.596s 15
8 Zane Maloney Carlin 1m29.658s +0.669s 17
9 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing 1m29.691s +0.702s 17
10 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m29.958s +0.969s 16
11 Kush Maini Campos Racing 1m30.035s +1.046s 15
12 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m30.231s +1.242s 16
13 Roman Stanek Trident 1m30.237s +1.248s 16
14 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1m30.268s +1.279s 16
15 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 1m30.333s +1.344s 16
16 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi Racing 1m30.347s +1.358s 16
17 Frederik Vesti Prema 1m30.621s +1.632s 16
18 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing 1m31.054s +2.065s 16
19 Brad Benavides PHM by Charouz 1m31.183s +2.194s 16
20 Clement Novalak Trident 1m31.432s +2.443s 15
21 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz 1m34.096s +5.107s 6
22 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m40.683s +11.694s 8