Pedro Piquet came out on top in a dramatic afternoon session on day one of the Formula 2 pre-season test in Bahrain.
The Charouz Racing System driver had flitted among the top three once or twice but had mostly been overshadowed by his team-mate Louis Deletraz, who had set the pace in the first test session and was on top for over an hour of the afternoon’s running.
He was eventually demoted by MP Motorsport’s Nobuharu Matsushita, who held onto first place until the final few minutes when Piquet set his 1m41.877s lap.
There were several red flag periods that segmented the session, with both of the drivers at the debuting Hitech GP team, Campos Racing’s Guilherme Samaia and the guesting Sergey Sirotkin at ART Grand Prix.
Hitech’s Nikita Mazepin actually set the pace prior to Deletraz, and he and team-mate Luca Ghiotto showed continuous improvement when their own running wasn’t curtailed.
Carlin driver Jehan Daruvala had a dramatic session too but ended up in third place with a lap set with just under half an hour to go.
Roy Nissany was fourth for Trident, having languished mostly at the bottom until the final few minutes, while his team-mate Marino Sato vacated his car mid-session and handed it over to former Super Formula driver Tom Dillmann.
Formula Scout is seeking confirmation if the Frenchman did in fact take over Sato’s car, given the laptimes set were significantly faster once Dillmann’s name appeared on the timing screen and resulted in an impressive seventh place.
ART Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong used a last-minute lap to demote DAMS’ Sean Gelael to sixth, while Deletraz sank to eight after failing to improve on his earlier pace.
A tricky opening session left HWA Racelab with no quick laps on its F2 test debut, but its veteran driver Artem Markelov completed the afternoon with the ninth fastest time. Behind him was the confident-looking Yuki Tsunoda (Carlin) and Mick Schumacher (Prema).
Dan Ticktum spent most of the session in the pits, but he was able to take to track late on for DAMS to beat fellow Britons Jack Aitken (Campos) and Callum Ilott (Virtuosi) to 12th place.
Many of the drivers involved in causing the red flags sat at the bottom of the timesheet.
|1||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System||1m41.877s|
|2||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||+0.193s|
|5||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix||+0.454s|
|8||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||+0.621s|
|9||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+0.627s|
|13||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||+0.836s|
|14||Callum Ilott||Virtuosi Racing||+0.909s|
|16||Sergey Sirotkin||ART Grand Prix||+1.059s|
|17||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+1.124s|
|18||Guanyu Zhou||Virtuosi Racing||+1.274s|
|19||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||+1.742s|
|21||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||+2.129s|
|22||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing||+3.772s|