Home Featured Martins takes F2 pole by huge margin in red-flagged Jeddah qualifying

Martins takes F2 pole by huge margin in red-flagged Jeddah qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins took his first Formula 2 pole with an astonishing lap in Jeddah qualifying.

The Campos Racing duo of Kush Maini and Ralph Boschung were the first to put laptimes on the board, as they experienced Pirelli’s supersoft compound tyre for the first time this season.

It was Trident’s Roman Stanek however who was first to lap at a representative pace, setting a 1m44.162s that was immediately beaten by Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan.

DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa then brought the pace down into the 1m43s, with team-mate Arthur Leclerc a tenth slower in second place.

Next to top the times was Prema’s Ollie Bearman, setting a 1m42.917s to lead MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala by 0.368 seconds.

Bearman only spent 13 seconds in first place as Martins went two tenths of a second faster when he crossed the line.

Maini got within 0.114s of Martins’ laptime on his next lap, as Bearman had a few close moments with the barriers.

Leclerc put DAMS back on top after 10 minutes, and Martins came short of reclaiming provisional pole by 0.049s when he tried to respond to Leclerc’s new benchmark.

A minute Bearman returned to the top three with a 1m42.821s lap, before qualifying was red flagged after Richard Verschoor came to a stop on track. The Van Amersfoort Racing driver lost the rear of his car going into Turn 22 and managed to hit the brakes hard enough for his spinning car to stop before it hit the barriers, but he was then unable to get his engine started again and so the session had to be stopped.

The clock was stopped during the red flag period, and the sun was setting once green flags were waved again with 18 minutes left of qualifying to go.

Some drivers did outlaps to see how the cooling track had changed, then returned to the pits, while others remained in the pitlane until the final 10 minutes of qualifying before heading out for their final run.

The first post-restart improvement came in with six-and-a-half minutes left on the clock, as Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi went fourth fastest.

Moments later Frederik Vesti took provisional pole for Prema, only to be bettered by Daruvala and then his own team-mate Bearman.

A flurry of improvements followed and Martins returned to the top with a 1m41.326s lap to put him 0.744s clear of the rest of the field. His championship-leading team-mate Theo Pourchaire, who had been at the bottom of the top 10, then went third fastest and Campos Maini and Boschung moved into sixth and seventh.

A cooldown lap followed for the field, with the next flyers coming in as the session went into its final two-and-a-half minutes.

Doohan slotted into fourth with a 1m42.110s, Bearman improved in second and Iwasa rose from 11th to sixth before yellow and then red flags came out as Leclerc stopped at Turn 22 with damage he’d picked up from a brush with a wall a few corners earlier.

With only two minutes to go, it meant the session was not restarted and Martins earned pole on his second weekend in F2.

Bearman had his fastest lap deleted, but still qualified on the front row as just 0.05s covered the gap between second and sixth place.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Victor Martins ART GP 1m41.326s 11
2 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m42.070s +0.744s 10
3 Theo Pourchaire ART GP 1m42.071s +0.745s 11
4 Jack Doohan Virtuosi 1m42.110s +0.784s 10
5 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m42.111s +0.785s 9
6 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m42.120s +0.794s 10
7 Frederik Vesti Prema 1m42.295s +0.969s 10
8 Kush Maini Campos Racing 1m42.360s +1.034s 9
9 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m42.497s +1.171s 8
10 Jak Crawford Hitech GP 1m42.553s +1.227s 11
11 Clement Novalak Trident 1m42.576s +1.250s 11
12 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing 1m42.617s +1.291s 11
13 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 1m42.629s +1.303s 9
14 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin 1m42.686s +1.360s 11
15 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m42.754s +1.428s 9
16 Roman Stanek Trident 1m42.795s +1.469s 11
17 Zane Maloney Carlin 1m42.819s +1.493s 11
18 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz 1m42.854s +1.528s 10
19 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m43.079s +1.753s 9
20 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing 1m43.385s +2.059s 4
21 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi 1m43.736s +2.410s 9
22 Brad Benavides PHM by Charouz 1m45.027s +3.701s 10