Home Formula 2 Doohan on top as Novalak and Mason hit trouble in F2’s Spa practice

Doohan on top as Novalak and Mason hit trouble in F2’s Spa practice

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan was comfortably quickest in Formula 2 practice at Spa-Francorchamps.

It was raining around the track at the start of the session, and only ART Grand Prix sent its drivers out at first. Victor Martins set a 2m19.455s, and Theo Pourchaire posted a 2m21.929s, then both did another lap and pitted.

PHM Racing by Charouz’s debuting Josh Mason joined them on track for his first ever running in a second-tier single-seater car, and his first laptime was over 10 seconds off the pace.

But he stayed out, and it stopped raining 10 minutes into the 45-minute session. He improved by over four seconds on his next lap, and by another second the lap after that.

After 15 minutes he was joined on track by Trident’s drivers, but there was then a virtual safety car period as Clement Novalak stopped on the Kemmel Straight. His team-mate Roman Stanek and Mason headed to the pits.

Green flags waved again after 21 minutes, and Stanek went back out along with the drivers of ART GP, Rodin Carlin, Campos Racing, DAMS and Prema.

Frederik Vesti and Ollie Bearman went one-two for Prema with their first flying laps, then Martins went over a second faster than them with a 2m18.161s.

Stanek set a 2m18.847s to go second fastest, and Pourchaire briefly improved in third before his lap was deleted.

Ralph Boschung set a 2m19.173s to sit in third, before Campos team-mate Kush Maini beat him, then Doohan set the day’s first 2m17s lap.

Two minutes later DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa rose to third with a 2m18.653s, 0.683 seconds off Doohan’s pace.

At the half-hour mark Vesti returned to first place, but his 2m17.571s lap only kept him on top for a minute as Martins set a 2m17.479s. Stanek and Pourchaire also lapped in the 2m17s to go third and fourth, with Doohan shuffled down to fifth place.

His next lap was a big improvement though, a 2m16.851s putting him 0.628s ahead of Martins.

Most drivers headed into the pits with 10 minutes to go, while Van Amersfoort Racing sent out its cars for the first time and Carlin duo Zane Maloney and Enzo Fittipaldi went fourth and fifth fastest.

Richard Verschoor and Juan Manuel Correa slotted into 14th and 15th with their first proper laptimes, set with less than four minutes to go of practice, but they were then each shuffled down a spot as MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger shot up the order with a 2m17.186s lap that put him in second place.

Most drivers headed back out on a drying track in the final three minutes, and Vesti had gone fastest in sector one before session-ending red flags were waved with just over two minutes to go as Mason had come to a stop at the exit of the Formula 1 pitlane.

Mason had improved his pace in the laps before, but was seven seconds off the pace after setting more laps than anyone, while Novalak’s early issue ruled him out of the rest of practice.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Jack Doohan Virtuosi Racing 2m16.851s 5
2 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 2m17.186s +0.335s 5
3 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 2m17.479s +0.628s 8
4 Frederik Vesti Prema 2m17.571s +0.720s 6
5 Zane Maloney Carlin 2m17.613s +0.762s 8
6 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin 2m17.852s +1.001s 8
7 Roman Stanek Trident 2m17.897s +1.046s 7
8 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 2m17.947s +1.096s 8
9 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 2m17.985s +1.134s 7
10 Kush Maini Campos Racing 2m18.163s +1.312s 5
11 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 2m18.231s +1.380s 6
12 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 2m18.364s +1.513s 7
13 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 2m18.423s +1.572s 5
14 Ollie Bearman Prema 2m18.548s +1.697s 6
15 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing 2m18.604s +1.753s 4
16 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing 2m18.673s +1.822s 4
17 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 2m18.983s +2.132s 6
18 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz 2m19.770s +2.919s 7
19 Jak Crawford Hitech GP 2m20.087s +3.236s 6
20 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi Racing 2m21.144s +4.293s 6
21 Josh Mason PHM by Charouz 2m23.897s +7.046s 12
22 Clement Novalak Trident no time 1